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Online Communication: Making the world bigger or smaller?

Online communication is a means of maximizing relationships through the internet using digital media. It is a great way to catch up with friends and develop new hobbies. People communicate online with the use of electronic devices from phones to laptops.

However, there are people who think that online communication has made people introverted and lazy about actually meeting with each other. Others think that it has made communicating across the world easier, better, and faster. But the truth is that it all depends on the situation and your perception.

Each common online technology is designed for a specific purpose, and because of that, they all have obvious flaws.

Types of online communication and their short comings.

E-mail:

E-mails are great for transmitting large amounts of specific data in a moment, with detailed information in writing, permanently. It is also great for sending invitations, appointments or putting things on your calendar. Remember, the times and dates that emails are sent are also saved with the contents of each e-mail. It’s also easy to access if reference needs to be made to it as it has been saved in your inbox or any folder in which you move it to. An email is very fast; you can just attach a document and click send. Of course in theory, we could do a lot of this face-to-face, but it can be really time consuming and labor intensive. And that’s why people often say “Can you send that to me via email?”

But on the other side, emails can lead to misunderstandings and confusion regarding the intentions of the sender. Emailing/texting is not great for working through issues. You can’t hear a person’s tone, you can’t see facial expression, and you can’t sense the other person’s mood or sense of humor. And if we are already in a bad mood, we will very likely read their message incorrectly. It’s really hard to resolve misunderstandings like this except you use the face-to-face approach.

Social media:

Social media can be said to be multimedia because it has options for videos, images, audio, and text. It’s a great platform to share parts of our lives with other people. And the big advantage is that we can be very careful and creative about how we craft a message. It is great for marketing which is essentially pushing out the best possible message to a target audience. It certainly allows for interaction with others.

There are however, two main criticisms of social media. First, it lacks authenticity; messages are so carefully crafted that they can come across as phony. The second criticism of social media is that the expected reaction of people tends to either love or hate, because it looks like everything gets sorted out into strongly agree or strongly disagree reactions with no middle ground. Face-to-face allows you to look at the person in the eye, read any emotions displayed, feel the import and read any nuances. But online, we have trolls, haters, full-time critics of any topic. In person, people are more courteous in their conversations.

Video

A video consists of visual, audio and sometimes texts and subtitles. Video is great for general educational purposes. You can even make it live, add a chat to it and have some interaction. A live video is more dynamic than a video recording. And if you’re talking live on video, you can immediately adjust to the feedback that you’re getting.

Live videos are fun on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and many more, but you’re still going to hear from those professional critics. Anytime I watch a live video on any social media platform, there is always this one person acting crazy in the comments section.

It’s best to have a one-to-one live video, either with FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, etc. For instance, you want to kick off a new working relationship, choose the right person you feel would relate well, have the conversation, and cover a lot of ground. This is enough to begin a working relationship on a good note, as it builds a smooth foundation for future emails and other online communication.

Does it make the world bigger or smaller?

Online communication and face-to-face communication are both great forms of communication, and a choice as to which is best would depend on what you want to achieve.

Face-to-face communication comes with all it takes for people to interact physically; the parties involved can see, touch, speak with each other. It can also help in creating mutual agreement/understanding. Face-to-face communication helps to build good relationships from the scratch. If you happen to build a relationship online as many do lately, the real turning point is when you finally meet each other and interact. This legitimizes and makes the relationship real. You begin to create shared experiences and a history. This is difficult to do if the relationship exists only online. Face-to-face communication is also valuable in collaborative problem solving.

But, it doesn’t mean face-to-face communication is always the superior choice. It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Online communication is demanding. Though its speed makes it really valuable, but it can also be challenging. For instance, you can meet a person face-to-face, have a conversation, and achieve mutual understanding, which online communication might not offer in some cases.

But online communication has its advantages with people in different countries, communicating to make progress and move forward without having to meet physically.

Generally, as relationships can be the result of any type of communication, we won’t actually say that online communication has made the world bigger or smaller because both have their pros and cons. Your type of communication choice depends on the situation and your requirements. The days of needing everyone to be at the office for a meeting have changed following the Covid-19 pandemic. Many virtual meetings as well as interaction with friends and family took place via the internet on various apps. Assuming online communication was not available? Imagine it was the only option available?

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