Thursday 30 September 2010


I use the internet a lot.

I don't think I use it excessively. At work I rummage around blogs and web sites when I can. On evenings I browse through medical/mental health sites that interest me. A few times a week I'll pop on to Facebook but I don't use it a lot. I'll email* at work several times a day, mostly to managers.

I've a 'puter at home we use for online gaming on evenings, but rarely use it through holidays or weekends.

My mobile 'phone can do email and Facebook and stuff but I've not configured it to do so. I'm quite happy using it to call or text or occasionally take photos.

If I want to communicate then I still like face to face contact. At work I walk to offices to meet folk, I hardly ever use my 'phone. At home I drive to friends and family and hardly chatter by 'phone or texts or Skype or emails. One friend texts* loads, which works fine, since we meet up throughout the week too. To have a real relationship, where you can relate to people, supported by texts/emails works for me.

I'm aware that I'm practically prehistoric in how I interact with the big wide world, though. My wife, who loves gadgets, thinks that although my mobile 'phone can do loads and I use it for just texts/calls/photos, the only reason I have a modern 'phone is because they don't do rotary telephones any more so I was forced to move on.

I recently was reading through work by Kruger (2005) on computer mediated communication. Apparently we're all not very good at it.

Published work shows authors believe they're understood much better than they really are. Folks communicating face to face accurately assessed how often their meanings would be understood. Folks communicating electronically incorrectly thought meaning would be understood about 80% of the time, when it was just a little over half the time. 44% of the time the important meaning (such as sarcasm) simply wasn't got.

Contextual meanings such as sombre or sadness or humour were poorly conveyed. What of smilies and emoticons? They were used and didn't help improve the outcomes. Even with such cues, anything (other than facts) such as sarcasm or emotion or attitude or irony or humour aren't meaningfully conveyed almost half the time.

This comforts me, knowing electronic communication is but a small part of my world. But, gentle reader, just in case you read anything I generate within this blog or comments on other blogs and take issue, can I play the "it's through using t'interweb" card and claim it was meant sarcastically, ironically or humorously? :-)

* email, electronic mail, is it just a noun or is it fair to use is as a verb? Texts, text messages, is it just a noun or is it fair to use is as a verb too?

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