Balance online and real world communication to avoid loneliness
The importance and the future of social communication is online according to psychologist Celine Fitzgerald and that future might be lonely. The human communication process is really complex and really diverse. We can say one sentence and have it mean a multitude of different things. No other animal on the planet communicates quite as we do.
The words and a non-verbal component
When we break communication into its basic components we realise there are two are verbal components dealing largely with the word somebody saying and a non-verbal component which deals with everything else that’s influencing that communication process. Things like a smile, body posture, the tone of their voice, do they seem tense or relaxed. This non-verbal component makes up 93% of that social communication process leaving only a marginal 7% dealing with the words.
Social communication it’s not something we really consciously focus on. Major social communication applications like Facebook and Twitter are text-based which means that they force us to focus on that marginal 7% of communication, the words. Communicating online really mimick the real world. For some maybe it seems even better than communicating in the real world because it isn’t limited by space or time and allows connection with multiple people at once.
Disconnected in the real world.
The problem is that the more we connect online the more we feel disconnected in the real world. You still feel lonely and stressed as virtual brought an illusion of the real connection. How to break this illusion and start to be open to the real world?
Nowadays challenges can be a great way to start.
For example, Celine Fitzgerald decided that she was going to speak to one new person every day for a month on the bus. By the end of the month, she knew almost everybody on the bus including the bus driver. Most of them are still her good friends. This approach really provided her with more fruitful results than the online approach. The challenge created a sense of a domino effect as these people on the bus introduced her to the people at the school and more people in the community. What is more important she started to feel like she was a part of that larger group, she felt happier and feelings of loneliness and stress disappeared into the background.
There are a few reasons according to researchers why people who connect online often feel lonely and often feel stressed. Often people who prefer to communicate online don’t pick up on those non-verbal communication cues. A researcher from Carleton University, John Zelinski, has done research on extroversion. What would be the impact on us if we force ourselves to be that little bit more extroverted in the real world? When we start approaching people and engaging in small talk with that person serving us the cup of coffee. The result will be increased happiness.
Exhausting, stressful and it creates loneliness
Doctor Michael Chan from the University of Hong Kong in his research he determined that this is an age effect. People between the ages of 18 and 34, primarily University students or people just starting to leave University, feel more lonely and more stressed when and because they communicating online. People aged 10 foster social communications on line which he deems are weak tie relationships. Because the internet is not bound by space or time and we feel the need to connect with this person in a professional way. We end up having this sense of professionalism going 24/7. The researchers stating that this is exhausting, stressful and it creates loneliness.
What to do?
Limit your interactions online if you’re going to bed at 10 don’t bring the phone to bed. Use the online world the foster your communications in the real world right if you have a great business idea ask your boss to meet you at a time and a place in the real world. Give yourself that 100% of the communication process to really make your idea the bomb.
Lastly, practise your social communication skills with people in the real world as much as you can. These are highly employable skills and they are important as we move forward into the future.
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