Social Question

kitszu's avatar

What has been lost in context/translation because of technologies such as texting and the various forms of online communication?

Asked by kitszu (1311 points ) December 18th, 2012

It was pointed out to me that my use of ‘dear’ comes across as condescending and that got me thinking.

In the ‘olden days’, people talked face to face, which gave them the ability to assess things like; tone of voice, volume, body language and facial expressions.

Everyday interactions have us face to face. We use all our observations of these interactions to make any manner of decisions. It’s the way we have interacted and survived for how many thousands of years?

Now we have a large percentage of people who communicate through words alone.

I liken that to a person suddenly having gone deaf, blind or both.

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14 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I still begin emails with “dear so-and-so.” I believe a lot has changed and been lost with the advent of modern technology. We often have impassioned debates online mainly because the participants can’t see each other nor hear the tone, volume, or body language as you point out.

burntbonez's avatar

You pretty much answered your own question: “tone of voice, volume, body language and facial expressions.”

There is an enormous amount of information to be found in those items. I would say more than fifty percent of communication comes in a form other than words. But we don’t have that online. So at least half the meaning is lost online, and most people aren’t really aware of it.

Since we lose so much but aren’t aware of it, most people have no idea it is missing. They have no idea what they don’t know about someone they meet online.

kitszu's avatar

@burntbonez Most of the questions I’ve read on here ‘answer their own question’ (i.e have formed their own opinions).

The people answering seem to have their own answers as well.

If everybody has answers, why are we still asking questions?

Unbroken's avatar

Well that leads to the question is there absolute right or is right a perspective.

I agree with what you say but I also think we have gained something.

I mean text message to ultimate form of short chopped up messages and as have I lost my phone replaced my phone several times a year… I can recognize a person by their texting voice if not it the first message definately in the second.

As far as writing, well writing is an expression of itself. There is absolute voice in it.

There can also be more time or consideration to flushing or flushing out a topic.

So there can be a lot of misunderstandings between strangers or even friends from misleading tone.

But miscommunication is prevalent in all forms of communication. So certainly we have become “blind and deaf” at once but we also have honed our senses to compensate.

burntbonez's avatar

@kitszu, only you can say why you ask questions. I ask questions I don’t have answers for. I ask to find out about other people’s experience, usually.

Perhaps you are asking a different question from the one you asked. Maybe you would like to know how tone of voice changes things, etc. A lot of times we write questions because we aren’t sure what we want to know, and we don’t always figure it out until we start getting some answers, and we see how we didn’t really express what we wanted. I don’t know if that’s the case with you, though.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I tend to think we lose humor (except ucme who is still hilarious!) in communication. We also sometimes come across as angry unless we make ;) faces or use text speak.

ucme's avatar

I’m amazed to see so many people still seem to retain an arse, considering an inordinate amount regularly claim to be laughing so hard their anus inexplicably falls off ;¬}

KNOWITALL's avatar

And there he is!!!

ucme's avatar

Haha, I didn’t even notice your post @KNOWITALL do forgive me m’dear :¬)

marinelife's avatar

People used to break up face-to-face.

burntbonez's avatar

Break up as in laugh or break up as in dissolve a relationship?

kitszu's avatar

@burntbonez I ask questions I don’t have answers for but I also ask questions I think I do have ‘answers’ for. I’m asking them because I don’t think I have all the answers, it’s a big, big world. I can and do think for myself but I also think there is danger in believing you have all the answers.

We don’t always know what we don’t know. I’m going fishing.

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