It’s fascinating to think of a new age of communicating. Sci-fi movies for years have shown what seemed like the impossible. Ok so we aren’t quite there yet – communicating through thoughts alone – may still be a few years away. I have to admit even I am not telepathic although some people may sometimes think I am (*smile*). But is online communication really all that different from how we otherwise communicate?
Offline people generally use one of three ways of evaluating someone or a situation: passive, active or interactive responses. As a passive person you generally observe conversations (you know the ones who call themselves shy). Active interaction involves someone “actively” engaging others in conversation often by asking questions or proposing a thought. While interactive involves direct interaction between two communicators (an exchange of communication).
If you think about it, these communication behaviors are actually absolutely present in online communication as well. An interesting observation is that in mediums such as email and Instant Messenger where visual cues are scarce, textual cues are more frequently used to decode the meaning behind the words. Most develop a great skills whereby they are able to follow those textual cues to reduce uncertainty in some circumstances and overall form impressions about those whose text/content they are reading.
Those mediums, social networking connections, where visual cues are more existent like Facebook or even Twitter at this point, make it easy for someone to be more passive. Why? Because you unobtrusively observe. All you need to do is set up an account and watch the conversations flow.
Though arguably (and this is my opinion) that seems like a waste of time. I believe that social media provides an excellent opportunity for interaction on a more active level. I do admit that I too passively read, follow and learn more about others in those networks. I am curious, what is it that they do? I am fascinated by what makes people tick, how and why they do and say what they do and say. And so I chose to engage and follow up on information that has been presented to me. I am very active in social media networks beyond just Facebook and Twitter, among all of which I actively share, promote and propose ideas and thoughts, as well as solicit feedback.
Give it a try. I wonder if you find it as fascinating as I do.