Interpersonal communication always referred to a face-to-face interaction in which people interchanged their verbal and non-verbal language. Today interpersonal interaction transferred to the entirely new level – online communication. While psychologists argue whether the change is positive or negative, we keep on chatting and sending messages. Many people would say, that such a new mode of communication is more comfortable and convenient for them. It allows exchanging both meaningful and “empty” information with a single person or an entire group anytime when people need it.
Despite the common belief, social media did not make us less social. Our society just moved online and got certain benefits from it. People are not afraid to communicate anymore. Shyness and social phobia used to impair face-to-face communication for many young people. Meeting new people on the web and sending them emails is extremely easy and way less awkward that initiating a discussion in the real world. From this perspective, social media is a relief to many introverts anxious about their communication.
But online communication is not devoid of some disadvantages. As we cannot see the nonverbal language of the interlocutor, we sometimes fail to get their message. Not only emotions and facial expressions but also gestures, posture, and movements make a full picture of someone’s intentions. Even if we are not great experts in body language, our cognition often gives us clues about gestures of other people.
Addressing negative social behaviors like bullying, we shall admit that social media did not change them much. Both cyber and non-cyber bullying are unfortunate, but in the online space, we can at least escape bullies if we have a strong will. As for the rest, online interaction greatly resembles face-to-face communication in many aspects.