February 7, 2020 by phicks2012
So…whatever happened to Face-to-Face communication as a preferred style of interaction?
It might be “just me” or my generation (though I have reason to doubt that when I hang around with people of all ages), but when I have a conversation with a friend (or in fact with just about any human being) I prefer to do it face to face so that I can read body language, see facial expression, hear tone of voice, and thereby better determine the meaning and intent behind what is said.
Texting messages composed entirely of abbreviations, acronyms, and emojis can be handy when time is really of the essence and we don’t need to convey complex concepts, but that relates to convenience or to necessity — not (at least in my case) to preference.
The other day a friend of mine asked “Whatever happened to phone calls?” and several people present indicated that either they found them annoying, or intrusive, or simply didn’t have time for them. Really? In my experience I can carry on a verbal conversation on my cell phone even when driving, because that’s hands free and doesn’t draw my attention away from the road. Even better if I have a Blue Tooth, because I can have a conversation while grocery shopping, or while walking for exercise, or even while at an event without having to hold the phone to my ear — and texting isn’t as simple, even assuming that your voice-to-text function actually works as intended and doesn’t very creatively garble the message the way mine sometimes can. 😉
It’s true that texts can be delivered even when the recipient is unavailable to take a call, can get through call blockers, and can then be responded to later. That’s convenient, but I still have a preference for hearing a voice (at least) even if I can’t see the face of the person I’m talking to. I feel that something is missing if I have only text — especially if the other person can’t be troubled to use complete words.
Acronyms like LOL, ROFL, WTF, and OMG are recognizable by nearly everyone, and we all tend to use those. Smiley and winky faces, and emojis conveying sadness or rage and can be handy too when we want to convey the emotion behind printed words. Trust me, I learned DECADES ago that things like sarcasm and dry humor do not translate well enough to print that SOME PEOPLE will not misconstrue what is being said and go off on a totally irrational RANT. Remind me to BLOG one day about a troll who threatened to report someone to the ASPCA for using the idiom “More than one way to skin a cat” in a comment. Note: Internet Trolls do not NEED a reason to flame. That’s their JOB. But I digress.
Emojis work, but tone of voice does the same, and a smile and a roll of the eyes, a sad look, or a scowl (along with vocal nuances) convey those emotions even better. When speaking face-to-face there’s also the possibility of a comforting touch, or a hug, or a congratulatory slap on the back.
So even in this digital world, when we easily can communicate over vast distances via text or messaging, I will continue to prefer vocal communication over text alone, and video over that, and face-to-face physical communication over all else.
Note: Okay, unless I really don’t want to communicate with the other person at ALL — but that’s another story entirely. 😉