I, for one, enjoy a good and constructive conversation but find it difficult to articulate my views verbally. Whilst knowing what I want to say, I usually have no idea of how to put across my point of view because I'm constantly reviewing and analysing issues, wording and acceptability of my standpoints. Probably part of the problem I described a couple of days ago, the mental chatter that causes noise and confusion. Nevertheless, I sincerely enjoy a good conversation with someone I can trust and am familiar with, who understands what I'm on about and will accept my views on at least face value. There's also a good deal of comfort just by being able to talk to someone face-to-face, a form of intimacy that is quietly pleasing.
On the other hand, there are the exchanges conducted online which, almost by definition, are more public and more fluid. Views are shared, echoed and discussed by many voices and displayed on monitors close to you as a result of the turning on and off of electrical impulses. Occasionally, when the discussion goes too deep though, we resort to more personal communication such as email or instant messanging to contact the disembodied souls who play such an important part in our lives.
For my part, I'm very pleased with the new media at my disposal. I have the opportunity to present my own views, read those written by others, discuss and evaluate a million subjects I'd never been able to do before in the past and develop a sense of community with my own small global village. On the other hand, I'm having difficulty making the shift from the more traditional media (direct speech, personal interaction) to the global modes of discourse. Despite all the best of intentions, there is a huge difference between communicating with people in the local sphere and those in the global one.
One of the subjects that keeps coming back is one of familiarity. The people in one's life are to a certain extent predictable, well-known and less open to misunderstanding because modes of interaction are already in place and continued on a frequent basis. On the other hand, although familiarity can grow and knowledge of a kindred soul "out there" can be cultivated across time there is, for me, an almost whistful feeling of missing something important, of only being able to understand others through a fog of electronically generated noise with all the potential for incorrect conclusions and faulty judgements.
How do you feel on this subject, does the issue of on- and offline communication play an important part in your life? How do you organise your digital daily doings and keep that separated from your own real life? Do you mix the two up sometimes? Let me know, I'm interested...