Social Media, Words, Writing

Miscommunication, the bane of social media! Or is it just me?

Miscommunication is key to the plot in my novel in progress, so I’ve been thinking about the ways we misconstrue the words and actions of those in our lives. Of course, that led to remembering how often I’ve failed in my online communications.

It didn’t take long after I started using email, to discover that lack of aural and visual clues leads to easy misinterpretation of words. The Geeks were ahead of me, of course, and had developed netspeak [LOL] and then emoticons [:-)] as a substitute, but often I neglected to use them and what I wrote in jest or sarcasm was taken seriously.

Unfortunately, I tend to forget that those I communicate with in social media don’t know me. And so, even if I don’t LOL or :-), I assume they’ll know when I’m joking. They’ll know I would never deliberately hurt their feelings. They’ll understand that I often speak before I’ve thought something through and give me the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t work that way.

And I always forget that it doesn’t work that way.

In my short career in the online writing world, I have inadvertently insulted a NYTimes bestselling author by email and a literary Super Agent by blog comment; I’ve incited arguments where I never meant to; and I’ve annoyed, exasperated, and exhausted people with my incessant—and sometimes blatant—questions.

I’m sure the Internet police have a warrant out for me.

What about you? Do have this online communication thing down pat, or do you sometimes flub it up too?

26 thoughts on “Miscommunication, the bane of social media! Or is it just me?”

  1. Certainly it’s a little difficult to express ourselves on the Internet, but we all can get use to it sooner or later, as someone else said: it’ll come naturally with the time.
    I also noticed that someone brought out the fact that miscommunication it’s not only on the Internet, but in real life too. That reminds me of what my father said once: Internet unites people that are far away from each other, but separates people who are near. And sadly, I believe it’s true in most cases. The separation from the social life makes us forget how to communicate effectively with other people; it’s not the same to write 🙂 than to show a nice and tender smile to someone.
    One day that I was chating with a friend on messenger (we had the web camera on), I put a 🙂 and my friend told me “hey! you write a smile but you’re not actually smiling!”; that made me thought “I’m learning to smile just with my fingers!!”.


    1. Thank you for reading my post and commenting, dcow92. Your father is wise. I like your illustration about smiling with your fingers. It would be a sad world if we lost our ability to communicate in the flesh. However, it’s wonderful to make new friends around the world. We need to keep the proper perspective.


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