Thursday, March 2, 2006

A Total Ramble on the "Thresholds in Communication"

Sometimes I don't have much to say. I guess that's the point of a true blog. Say what you want, when you want. It's not like I've got some editor or publisher hounding me, right?
Email and web forums are like that, too. It's a lot like you're talking, only the words stick around for a long time.

A blog (like here) is your own spot. You say what you want, feelings be damned, if you want to be that way... I don't. I realize that this little spot on the internet can be found by my family, friends, coworkers, aquaintances, my some-day-to-be-ex-wife, etc. I type with that in mind.

Most of us know the "rule" of delayed email sending: Save that complaining, harsh email for a while and reconsider it later, lest you offend someone inadvertantly (or think better of it).
I suppose forums should have the same "rule." It's harder, though. On a forum, you're sort of "talking" to someone. Delaying the post is a little hard to deal with. Some forums I visit have moderated posting, which makes it take a long time to converse back and forth with your friends on the forum.

Sometimes even the most innocent words look bad on the screen. "Hmmm, I was THINKING
sarcastically, why's she mad?" Even those little emoticons don't help much. Maybe I use or read them wrong, but those fake little faces just don't have the same effect that a true face, in person, would.

So, just as conversations, in person, have thresholds that we won't cross, we (me, too) need to consider our online communication thresholds. We've had millions of years of practice communuicating in person, but only a few learning to deal with people on the other end of a computer screen.

We inherently know our in-person thresholds and STILL mess up quite often. Without actively considering our online, email, voice mail, forum, and newsgroup thresholds, we don't stand a chance. It's hard enough to keep friends that you see every day. Lose a friend on the internet and he's gone. You're unlikely to rekindle your relationship the next time you run into him at Starbucks, because your two Starbucks are in different cities, states, or countries.


  1. Hi LD

    Great topic - I couldn't agree more. I'm a sys adm and have had to deal with a number of electronic 'spats', especially a number conducted over instant messaging applications.

    Everyone needs to slow down, read over what they have written and not forget the courtesies that we extend in verbal communication.

    I won't even get into spelling and grammar..

    Again, great topic, thanks


  2. It gets kinda heated at my work, now that we've all got these stupid Blackberries. Instant access to email with frustrating keyboard doesn't equal success when people aren't patient with each other.

  3. Hello LOSTDOG
    Nice Blog and topic..

    I have to learn to get into "forum mode".. and realized that I DO have time to anwer..

    I've been chatting for over 9 years and on chat.. even the time we take to answer is interpreted ..

    One thing I've always found is that the written words are so much stronger because we can read them over and over.. even if we just read the message once, it's there in front of us.. when in 3D life or on the phone we hear something.. we hear it once and it's gone.. so it doesn't stay and haunt us.. but in writing.. good or bad.. it is amplified.


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