Your Assistance, Please!

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I need your help!

In August, I am participating in the 2015 JIS (Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies) Symposium. I will be sharing a paper on the effects of long-distance online interaction (blogging, social networks, comment feeds on news outlets, etc.) on public discourse: Does it raise or lower the bar on how we communicate with one another?

So, I’m conducting a quick, informal poll to see what you long-distance online communicators have to say about the issue.

Here’re my questions:

1) Overall, does online interaction improve or weaken our ability to communicate with others?

2) What is the most positive aspect of online communication, and what is the most negative?

3) How many different online social outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) do you use? **No specifics necessary; just a number.**

4) What percentage (rough estimate) of your social interaction takes place online, as compared to the percentage that takes place in person?

If you wouldn’t mind taking a few moments to jot down some brief answers to these questions, I would greatly appreciate it. No names or personal information will be included in the finished product, but this will be helpful in establishing some baseline statistics as I proceed with this project.

Also, please pass this along. I can use all the “sample” I can get!

You are all Awesome!

– The Toad

25 thoughts on “Your Assistance, Please!

  1. 1) Overall, does online interaction improve or weaken our ability to communicate with others?

    Greatly improves! I have met the finest folks from virtually every corner of the earth and through discourse, learned a lot from them. I now have a very good friend down in Alabama I met in an interfaith blog (she was the moderator). We struck up a friendship and, eventually, she read and edited the manuscript for my novel. I’ve now encouraged her to write her memoirs and I am editing each chapter as she finishes.

    2) What is the most positive aspect of online communication, and what is the most negative?

    Most positive is gaining knowledge of other people and cultures. Most negative is discovering just how close minded and acid-tongued many people can be even when I maintain a civil tone and present facts in debates.

    3) How many different online social outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) do you use? **No specifics necessary; just a number.**

    Four

    4) What percentage (rough estimate) of your social interaction takes place online, as compared to the percentage that takes place in person?

    Virtually 99% due to circumstance. I am retired, my wife works, and we are a one car family.

  2. 1) Overall, does online interaction improve or weaken our ability to communicate with others?

    A. Depends on the individuals(s). I found my “authentic” voice on the Internet, so I’d say it improved my ability to communicate with others authentically.

    2) What is the most positive aspect of online communication, and what is the most negative?

    A. Positive: breaks down barriers. Negative: creates barriers.

    3) How many different online social outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) do you use? **No specifics necessary; just a number.**

    A. Three

    4) What percentage (rough estimate) of your social interaction takes place online, as compared to the percentage that takes place in person?

    A. 90+ percent — mostly because I’ve been shunned by my offline community for being a nonbeliever.

  3. Hi Toad, here are my thoughts:

    1) Overall I think it improves our ability to communicate with others.

    2) Most positive aspect: it offers another medium to keep in touch with friends and family who live far away. Most negative aspect: the lack of body language, facial expression, and vocal intonations along with the anonymity end up creating environments where conversations become very brutal very quickly.

    3) 2 actively and 1 passively

    4) About 30% is spent online.

  4. 1) Overall, does online interaction improve or weaken our ability to communicate with others? I feel it improves our ability to communicate with others.

    2) What is the most positive aspect of online communication, and what is the most negative? positive- sense of security in that I will probably never meet these people so I can just be myself without fear of rejection. negative- the possibility of disingenuous communication on the other party’s part.

    3) How many different online social outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) do you use? 5

    4) What percentage (rough estimate) of your social interaction takes place online, as compared to the percentage that takes place in person? 60% or so; I “talk” to more people online than I do in “real life” because it’s less taxing to put on the mask. Online, I can just be me.

    1. Thanks, TIna! I appreciate your insight.

      Still want to reschedule to get together soon. This last week was crazy busy, but I think the madness is past, so let’s see what we can figure out. :0)

  5. 1) It improves our ability to communicate. Easier to find like-minded people, lower social risk (cost of rejection is low).
    2) The most positive aspect is the elimination of physical distance as a barrier. The biggest negative is the polarization of discussion – it is very difficult to express a nuanced opinion without being taken for one of “them” even when you’re an “us.”
    3) Six, one active.
    4) 33%

  6. 1) Overall, does online interaction improve or weaken our ability to communicate with others?

    A: I think that reading and writing improve our ability to communicate. It gives us a chance to evaluate what’s being said more calmly, more rationally, and more intelligently. The flip side of that is that the anonymity that these mediums provide also opens up the opportunity to denigrate and belittle others without having to face any real repercussions. Overall, though, I’d say that communication is improved.

    2) What is the most positive aspect of online communication, and what is the most negative?

    A: The most positive aspect of online communications is that it opens up the world to us. They say that travel broadens your horizons and makes your world a bit smaller. Seeing different cultures give you a different perspective. Short of traveling online communications are the next best thing. Meeting interesting people from all over the world has certainly shaped my thinking.

    The most negative aspect is, in my opinion, what I mentioned earlier. It also gives anonymous people a platform to derail what is otherwise effective and productive communication.

    3) How many different online social outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) do you use? **No specifics necessary; just a number.**

    A: 2

    4) What percentage (rough estimate) of your social interaction takes place online, as compared to the percentage that takes place in person?

    A: Probably 65% of my social interaction takes place in person and 35% online.

  7. 1. Overall, I would say improve. Anyone can comment on the internet. There is no social hierarchy, no worry of introverts versus extroverts, and less fear of voicing an unpopular opinion. It is a lot easier to ignore others, but it is also a lot easier to open up. The distance encourages honesty. I would not say every online interaction qualifies as communication, but I do think it enables communication in ways never before possible which can improve face to face communication.

    2. Positive- Connections over vast differences in geography and culture are easier to build than ever before.
    Negative- Not seeing someone in person makes it easier to attack and dehumanize them with no regard to their well-being.

    3. Do things like YouTube, RSS feeds, and various blogging and commenting services count?

    4. This is a hard one to answer. Since I stay at home, interaction outside of my immediate family is limited to weekends usually. I am going to say 65% of my interactions are online.

    1. Awesome, my Muggle friend!

      And yes, I think all the things you mentioned in #3 would count. Anything that allows a person to create an identity and interact with others who subscribe probably would.

  8. Hello! Here are some answers that I hope you find helpful.

    1) I think overall it improves our ability to communicate with others.

    2) The most positive aspect is being able to practice communicating with others in writing. The most negative aspect is that communication seems to be less polite and more impersonal when people disagree on a point.

    3) 3

    4) About half online, half in person.

    1. Thanks so much for your help with this. By the way, I’ve seen your avatar floating around on other folks’ posts for a while, but I just now figured out the screen name. I like it!

  9. 1) Overall, does online interaction improve or weaken our ability to communicate with others? –

    I think on the whole it improves the capability to interact with others, for a start there’s the access angle, you can reach hundreds, nay thousands of people with one email or tweet say. The anonymity of the web also affords a confidence to those who would shy away from communicating in ‘real life’ too, though that also can facilitate the very worst in people. However, the quality of said communication can often be quite poor due to what is in effect the slang of the net, – ‘lol, pmsl, yolo, ffs’ etc, which I feel is somewhat detrimental to communication and language as a whole. This loss of grammar and spelling, combined with this slang can have the older generation feeling isolated, and unable to understand what on earth someone is trying to communicate to them.

    2) What is the most positive aspect of online communication, and what is the most negative?

    The very action spoken of above – the freedom to be heard, to have a voice from literally in the wilderness in some cases – those who are housebound, or for whatever reason cannot mingle in society as they would like, can find friends all over the world! How they look, or speak need not be a worry for them, so shyness is often put aside somewhat, and the fact that many people’s lives are now transformed from a lonely existence to one filled with friends and happiness is really, I’d say the most positive aspect.
    The most negative is again under the same umbrella – the trolls and stalkers. Such cruelty is meted out upon grieving families, school children, – no-one seem exempt from the depths of nastiness these vicious, malevolent tedious cowards. I abhor such types.

    3) How many different online social outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) do you use? **No specifics necessary; just a number.**

    Four

    4) What percentage (rough estimate) of your social interaction takes place online, as compared to the percentage that takes place in person?

    Hmm…..it really is about half and half I’d have to say, though I’d not thought about it in depth previously. I’m happy enough with that too. *smiles*

    I hope that was of use Mr Toad.

    – sonmi smiling upon the Cloud

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