Is Online Better than Face-to-Face Communication?
In the advent of technology today, it is reasonable to assume that sooner or later, people would become too impatient and effortless in dealing with everyday activities. Television, internet, mobile phones, and other electronic communication gadgets are becoming too useful in aiding us with our communication with other people. The promptness of delivering our messages has enabled us to connect with more new and old friends. In the world of technology, everything arrives instantly especially messages. However, the value of communication has lessened due to the lessened amount of personal communication between people. The ongoing social question, therefore, revolves around the idea whether online communication is a worthy substitute for personal ones.
Online versus Face-to-Face Communication
Telephone and internet conversations have become the most convenient way of communicating with friends and loved ones who are in distant areas. A lot of activities can be done on the internet nowadays such as voicing out opinions through blogs, earning money at home through online advertising and marketing, and connecting instantly with other people through numerous online messengers and forums. The most important purpose of the internet is its capability to do things in a click of a mouse—to save precious time and not to acquire more time from the user. Searching for books and newspaper articles on libraries take time but internet searching can lessen it. Long distance telephone calls can eat up your budget but Skype-Skype calls can provide service for free. Snail mail can test your patience but electronic mailing can bring you numbers of replies in an instant.
Aside from the convenience and speed that it brings to users, many testify that the internet is very helpful in achieving a much interactive communication with other people which eventually leads to addiction. Social networking sites such as FaceBook, MySpace and Twitter are also becoming a huge part of the internet’s continuous spread. Majority of the users of these sites claim that these sites produce tighter social linkages and greater engagement. The features of these sites range from the ability to chat with an online friend; widen social networks; meet new acquaintances; post updates about one’s life in an instant; and share multimedia such as photos and videos. It actually indicates a sense of belongingness within a group. In fact, a researcher believes that the internet has become a “new global campfire” (Mollman). Social networking sites focus on wider sets of friendships and instant communication between friends. They can instantly update their profiles and let their networks know how they are doing. FaceBook and MySpace even “allow users to form groups based on mutual interests” (Rosen 19). They can instantly update their profiles and let their networks know how they are doing. Like what Mollman discusses in his article, these social networking sites can contribute to the happiness of an individual since belongingness is believed to be “a strong a predictor of happiness” (Mollman). However, once a person becomes addicted, these personal relationships can be sacrificed. Obviously, the effect of the internet has caused much serious risks in the personal lives of people. These internet features have turned into mere electronic tools which have come to disillusion society into believing that they are having “real communication” when in fact, they are merely “virtually speaking” or “virtually interacting” with each other.
On the other hand, personal or face-to-face communication requires greater effort from a person. It is not considered instant communication if the each party has to adjust in geography for the sake of meeting. Unlike online communication, it can acquire more time and expenses between people who intends to meet some place in a specific time. However, the good thing about face-to-face communication is that the sincere and genuine purpose can be felt unlike online conversations. A friend who is in need is most likely to appreciate a literal “shoulder to cry on”. The term “friends” in reality refers to those who you completely trust and confide on unlike in the social networking sites “friends” can refer to a stranger a FaceBook user just recently saw in the random “Friends you may know” tab. Lovers are most likely to stay together if their feelings are strengthened by regular personal communications. Online communication is definitely not enough to sustain a serious relationship. There should always be time for warm hugs and cuddles because without it intimacy might be put on risk. Misunderstandings can also be lessened if two people argues personally and not through text messaging, phone or online instant messaging. According to scholars, “Face to face communication is generally considered the richest medium of communication. It allows both verbal and nonverbal information to be shared, the latter containing far more information about intentions” (Volkema 124). The most important part of communication is believed to be the nonverbal part which refers to the gestures and facial expressions. Nonverbal is a part of face-to-face communication which shows the emotions of the speaker therefore, it is deemed to be the most essential element in message delivery. These are the valuable aspects of effective communication that is absent in the world of online communication. Even the innovated “emoticons” which is used to portray facial expression fails to substitute the real ones.
The internet has eased a great deal of human labor with regard to research, instant communication and updated news. It has crossed the boundaries that other communication mediums such as telephone, radio and television have limits to. However, the problem lies on the fact that once a person becomes more attached to internet activity, the individual loses his or her sense of time management therefore leading to more time online. There are risks which are associated with the kind of instant communication that social networking sites offer. Engaging and depending excessively in these types of communication can lessen a person’s value for communication. Personal interaction and face-to-face communication is still the best way to socialize with people and make new friends; therefore, the happiness that is gained from “online belongingness” is temporary and might not even be real. Once you logout of the cyberspace, you go back to reality without these groups where you think you belong with and you can only feel it again once you go back to the net.
Virtual communication cannot replace the fulfilling rewards that face-to-face communication provides. It is important that internet usage be utilized with moderation to avoid addiction which can lead to lack of personal interaction with other people which is an important factor of one’s social life. Because internet threatens to lessen the value of face-to-face communication and promotes instant response, it also has the tendency to produce impatient individuals in the future. People would soon forget the virtue of waiting and patience. Everything in this world is becoming instant that there is no more room for waiting. Everybody is beginning to depend on the power of technology while overlooking the virtue of sticking to traditions
Mollman, Steve. Can happiness be found online? 19 February 2009. CNN.com/Technology. 21 April 2009. <http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/02/19/db.happy.online/index.html#cnnSTCText>
Rosen, Christine. “Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism.” New Atlantis (15–31). 21 April 2009. <http://www.thenewatlantis.com/docLib/TNA17-Rosen.pdf.>
Volkema, Roger J. Leverage: How to Get it and how to Keep it in Any Negotiation. New York: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn, 2006.