The Official Car Sticker

The Official Car Sticker

Monday, March 10, 2008

Communication - Internet Chats

Communication is a very powerful element in today's society. Everywhere we go, everything we do...its all about communication. A simple definition of communication, according to Oxford Dictionary is the "exchange of information" or "process of transmitting information". Basically, we know its all about "I say something, you listen and reply, and you say something, I listen and reply".

The mass media, TVs and radios know how to do it best. But as an average person in the society, we always, like some people say, have "communication break-down". The latest and dangerous form of communication today is the internet chat which originally started with Microsoft's Inter-Relay Chat (iRC) or what some would call Internet Relay Chat, back in the mid-80s.

Some 3 years ago, I was speaking in a youth conference on the topic of "Communication - Internet Chatrooms". I did a research and study on users of such internet chatrooms, stuffs from MSN Messenger, Skype and stuffs. A general conclusion, most people (generally the younger generation) prefer to use chatrooms to chat rather than making a phone call or even talking face-to-face. I have a friend who would rather tell me her problems over the MSN chatroom rather than meeting me up and talking face-to-face. Her reason...don't know what to say when I am around. LOL. And this is where potential danger arises...

In chatrooms, all that I want to say are only represented with text on the screen that does not carry any form of human expression nor body language. Yes, while some argue that the use of emoticons can show references to human expressions, nothing beats the real face and the real expressive vocal tones of the human voice. A simple sentence can easily be misread, mistaken and misunderstood for something that was never meant. The receiver of the said message is subjected to a host of potentially misleading and totally off-track interpretations of that one simple message.

It is even more so, when couples that are in a relationship chat online. The potentials of miunderstandings are even more pronounced. Because couples in a relationship tend to have a much higher level of expectations from their partners during online conversations. And in internet chatroom, such expectations may not be satisfied due to the nature of such online chatrooms. For example, I write something and my girlfriend does not reply in the next few minutes (cause she is maybe in the toilet), I tend to think what wrong have I said that caused her to be in this silence. The fact is...I don't know what's happening on the other side of the chatroom, I don't know what she is thinking and I don't know how she is reacting to my statements.

I have personally experienced this myself when I chat over internet chatrooms. There is always a high tendency of a misunderstanding or a misexpectation. But when I am communicating face-to-face this this same person, I notice that such same misundertandings and misexpectations are of much lower levels and frequencies. Because by being able to see her responses, facial reactions, vocal expression and tones and her body language, I am able to make better and more accurate judgements on what exactly is happening.

So, chatrooms are for the convenience of internet use. But when it comes to some real serious chats or heart-to-heart talks...always meet her face-to-face, hold her hands, look into her eyes and be ready to give her that kiss. haha...

All the best guys...

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