M.A, M.Sc (=Master of Assumption, Mis(S)communication)

September 22, 2010

If a picture is worth a thousand words, and videos even more, what about  personal/face to face meetings – the coffee dates, the handshakes, and ‘let’s talk about this in person’ suggestions? In today’s digital lifestyle, they must be, priceless?

What’s rare is more price worthy, ain’t it? We live in a world where most of our personal (and official) communication is increasingly text based, making us rely upon our written communication and speed of typing, to build personal and business relationships.

We frantically reply to emails on the go, we keep in touch with friends on Facebook (even with those who live in the neighborhood) and leave terse responses to their pictures and status updates, we even gift and drink beer on online! We tweet because anything more than 140 characters is laborious. We send text messages to our family using a combination of alpha numeric keys to create emoticons, in hope that they would convey our mood, emotions and affection.

A graphic designer friend of mine said to me recently, ‘there’s an emoticon for every emotion you want to communicate online, if not, I can craft one’. A very talented graphic designer there, so I had to be doubly sure of what I asked for. I could think of a range of human emotions that don’t have suitable emoticons, but this would not be the place to share them 🙂 and  so I asked for an emoticon that implied ‘to be discussed in person’ or something that simply meant ‘let’s trash the text; I want to read your face and listen to the tone of your voice’. Maybe you were faltering when you typed that email? Or grinning from ear to ear…or maybe even trembling with fear – that’s important information that text can’t reveal – that is important information that text based communication renders obsolete – it is important information that instant communication has no time for because it is inherently fast.  Yet, we rely so much on online applications and devices to connect with people on a personal and business level, purely through text! We take refuge in asynchronous exchange of chunks of text, not realizing that repeated use of the same medium with no cues to tone of voice and facial reactions eventually leads to disintegration of that relationship.

The written word is bound to lose its effectiveness when there’s no personal reinforcement.

Quickly reviewing my own situation, I have to admit that I have been a ‘text victim’ too! It’s true that my relationship with people who I have communicated only with typed words has either stagnated or nose dived. And relationships that have blossomed or strengthened in recent times are those that included face to face interactions.

And there’s nothing like meeting to talk about something – no long email, SMS or even essays for that matter compare to personal interaction. So, if you have only been firing electronic missives, then soon the title of this blog would be more appropriate for you!

I am still waiting for the graphic designer to create the emoticon I am looking for but, in the meanwhile, I’m off to request that next coffee date!


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