Has the chat got your tongue?

This post is the result of me threatening Facebook for being mean showing images about misunderstanding caused by texting, and for doing it exactly when I am chatting with my Boyfriend to try and solve our fight generated on chat because of plenty of misunderstandings:

And isn’t it ironic…don’t you think

A little too ironic…and, yeah, I really do think… (A. Morissette – Ironic)

So, first things first, I wrote “Boyfriend” just here, just now, and just capitalised, to exorcise the bad feelings this word brings to mind, and also to try and put a stop to the really unfortunate series of events that pronouncing it tends to trigger! In addition, I am pretty sure I will go through all my silly, but needed, cathartic processes of deleting the word, the sentence, and the post and related links over and over, and I therefore hope plenty of people will read it before I do so; that way, I will feel stupider than I normally do, and there won’t be any way to really pretend it didn’t exist!

So, back to the main subject of this post, the image shared by Grammarly, one of the wittiest pages I am currently following, says:

Texting is a brilliant way to miscommunicate what you feel and to misinterpret what other people mean.

In a previous post, also written in a moment of frustration with modern communication means, I already tackled this issue. Texting is a huge part of my life, not only because it is how I keep in touch with plenty of friends back home and all around the world, but also because of my current love situation. Despite all the promises that I made to myself when I was a kid who thought could control feelings, my lover lives across the ocean, and chat is one of the few ways through which I can spend time with him.

Of course, the point here is not to bite the hand that is feeding me, because I know that without text and video chat we wouldn’t be where we are now, but that doesn’t mean that they have great outcomes for our relationship. Text chat is cold, with very little ways to express the full range of emotions that a face and a voice could include in a conversation. Some could argue that emoticons have now facilitated that aspect, but I am not convinced. I clearly remember using an emoticon that I considered funny but that was completely misinterpreted and ended up offending the other person; in the same way, and this just happened, a smiley was expressing relief and agreement, but I was so frustrated and fed up at that point that I preferred to ignore it.

Even voice and video, which are definitely better ways to interact than simple text, lack some of the basics of in-person communication. For example, the connection is often a problem, making hard to understand the words and cutting the conversation all of a sudden. When two people are in the same room, there still could be problems hearing each other for different reasons, but it is highly rare to see the other person vanish as it often happens thanks to my best friends Hangouts and Skype. I agree, I may think that because I haven’t dated Sam Oliver yet, but I am up to do that and blog again after! Until then, let’s stick to my current experience: video allows us to see each other facial expressions and hear the tone of a sentence all at once, but still cuts out so many aspects that are implicit when two people are in the same room: everything else around that is not captured by the screen, such as the surrounding space, smells, colours, and so on. I still remember the first time I saw in front of me my lover’s eyes after months on chat; then, I realised that I had completely forgotten their colour, because even the best webcam cannot capture all the nuances or the depth of a gaze.

On what is missing in texting, I can quote an authority, meaning myself, today on chat (I know, ironic, again!):

Text doesn’t work, there is no feedback on what I am getting word by word

And this brings me to something that I was almost forgetting: not considering my character, the distance, and the technical difficulties as being enough, I wisely found myself in a relationship that includes all that plus the English language as the only one in our interactions: clever girl! But, and I am talking to you, Pretty… People, you know what I tell you?

We can’t rewind,

We’re locked in time

But you’re still mine

Do you remember? (J. Johnson – Do you remember)


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