Prompt Page 0043: It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text, World

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How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?

I don’t communicate differently online. I am very much a WYSIWYG.

I think the main reason my writing seem so coherent and well put together is because I have the time I need to formulate my thoughts fully. I have the time to stop and ask myself, “Why do I think that? Why do I feel that way? What if this happened instead?” I’m allowed to travel through my own mind on different tangents, which eventually lead me back to the original idea with a better understanding of why I’m there.

When I am interacting in social situations I tend to be quieter and observe more. I may not contribute as much as others want or expect me to, but that does not mean I am not present in the conversation. I am reflecting on what is being said, and if given time, I can have just an eloquent response as what I write online.

I feel word choice plays a huge role in written communication, more so than in verbal communication. In social situations you have the added benefit of non-verbal cues such as body language, eye contact, tone fluctuation, even breathing. So you can say, “I feed sad,” and communicate a stronger feeling of sadness, guilt, remorse, whatever, then if it were merely typed online.

“I feel sad,” verses, “I feel devastated,” convey a much different message, though both could be adequate expressions of the same emotion depending on how your body reacts to saying the former phrase.

Everyone in cyber land can’t see that reaction though. So we place more weight on what the word invokes within our selves. I feel that is where emotion truly comes from in written communication. A word’s connotation is extremely important, and that can vary from person to person.

I have been told my writing is very ‘colorful’. That I use strong words to invoke strong emotions, which in a way is true.

Most of the time there isn’t conscious thought behind my word choice. It is what I feel describes the emotions I am trying to express, so it is what I use. It’s not a, “What will get people to feel for me?” It’s a, “What word embodies this emotion?” I am trying to paint a picture of my inner landscape and I need the perfect color, the perfect word, to describe it. Not just any color will do. It has to be the right hue, the right shade, otherwise the picture is wrong. Untrue.

My writing is freeform. I let my fingers play along the keyboard as it if were a piano, and the words that come out are the notes of my song. Sometimes it is happy, joyful, playful, other times it is sad and somber. The words reflect that and are the purest expression of my emotions that I can give in a written form.

With all of that said, I still feel that actions will trump words any day. Anyone can say anything. And I will believe words to a certain point. I will believe in their intention, but until there is action, whether they are written or spoken, they will remain simply words.

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