Since some time in the late 90s, online chatting has been a popular
form of communication among people below a certain age. Whether AIM,
gmail chat, facebook chat, ichat, or whatever other mode of usage, the
online ping pong form of communication is something most of us have
participated in or do participate in on a daily basis.
And as with most forms of communication, I have mixed feelings about it.
On one hand, I really enjoy the way that online chatting allows for
more thoughtful back-and-forth. Certainly it doesn’t always happen, but
at least the form lends itself to more thought-through responses. In
face-to-face communication, if you pause for too long or look nervous
trying to come up with something to say, it makes the situation
awkward. Online, it’s accepted. You can take all the time you want to
craft a message before you hit “send,” and both parties accept that
this is how it should happen. Face-to-face, we often fill awkward
silences with rushed statements or uncomfortable silence-fillers.
Online, we can go about it slower and more methodically, crafting just
the right response to communicate exactly the right thing.