Can you remember a time before social networking? Before the Internet was in practically every home? Can you remember the last time you went into a shop which had an old fashioned till? I can…and it wasn’t that long ago!
People used to meet up face-to-face and talked, made telephone calls and went out to social events and clubs to meet new people. We had few friends and many acquaintances, so how has the internet changed the way we communicate?
I believe, it hasn’t changed the amount of true friends we have, but it has made it so much easier to make new friends and to get to know people a lot more quickly. This means that we are more able to weed out the acquaintances from friends in a much shorter time. The quantity of people that we communicate with throughout our lifetime has increased considerably and is far more diverse than could have been imagined a few decades ago. This communication however is diluted. If you meet and chat with someone on the Internet, it’s probable that you have only been typing your conversation. The words we type, only account for 7% of what we are actually saying. The rest of the meaning is given via body language, tone of voice, and facial expression. So how do you get to really know someone when you can only read their words?
I believe… You can’t! At some point you have to meet.
However, this post is about communication. Social networking has changed the way we get to know each other. It has also changed the emphasis of how we write.
As a writer, I find that I am more comfortable in the social media arena. I write because I like to consider what I’m saying, I like to create beauty in words and I like the luxury of editing. If I’m having a text-based conversation, I like having the ability to write and if I deem it to be badly phrased or not eloquently descriptive I can change or delete it.
For me, this comes from my childhood, I was ridiculed for verbalising the wrong word in the wrong context and feeling a fool. I was enthralled by words from an early age and I used to experiment with them until I learned the correct context, most of the time to the sound of derision from my peers. There was many a time I felt ridiculous because I ‘put my foot in it’. So now, I tend to consider the words I use more carefully, so as to ensure the right meaning is perceived by the reader. Is this a deceit? I don’t think so, it merely portrays me as an online persona that my true friends spent years getting to know via old methods in the olden days and today can take only a few months (depending on how often you are socially online).
Therefore, I believe that social networking shows a more truthful persona. People have to consider what they write, which means the standard of writing will be increased in time and stupidity outs very quickly through text.
The Internet can hide a baddy who seeks to deceive, and for this reason, we all must use it with caution and heed safety and security advice, but it also unmasks the rest of us, which in my opinion can only be for the better!