Communication technology, being pervasive in comforting lives with its multiple benefits, has become an inseparable part of life. In the digital age, without technology, life seems to be void, meaningless, and incomplete. The app culture has gained immense popularity among people of all ages. These apps make online communication instant, convenient, attractive with emojis, and advantageous to people who are somewhat reluctant to converse face-to-face. Texting is a different form of expression other than oral communication.
Do you feel bad when your messages are not replied to immediately? If you expect the receiver to respond to you as soon as the message shows read/ticked blue, and it does not happen. Therefore, there is no need to feel chaotic, impatient, and disturbed.
In digital space, we are clueless about the situation of the receiver. Delayed responses may not be due to ignorance. There are chances that the receiver is busy with some personal and professional assignments or maybe in some emergency.
Let me tell you: There is no hard rule; ‘sent and replied at the same time.’
A relevant story of my friend
Alex (original name confidential), a friend of mine, is extremely talkative and extroverted. He is a regular user of social media sites and perceives his life as almost nothing without it. I have witnessed him making and breaking relations with each rising day. He always expects his friends to remain continuously engaged with him in sharing photos, videos, chats, and video calling.
Most of his heartbreaks were over the conversations on social media sites when his new friends failed to respond to him with the same frequency as per his expectations. Less number of likes and comments are also not OK with him. This led to set back, relational conflicts, ends up blocking the person, especially on WhatsApp, if the anger or disappointment worsens, maybe from all other accounts as well (Instagram, Facebook, etc. ) social boycott. On asking about his ties with new friends, he always responds: ‘I have blocked because I found them rude, non-responsive, and careless. There are no more sharing, meetings, and selfies and social interaction between them.’
The nuances of online communication
Digital conversations are not as simple as they seem. It includes typing, expressions, selection of words, efforts, expectations, and much more than face-to-face communication.
To avoid stress in digital conversations, make it a pleasurable and rewarding experience. Here are some points to consider:
- Patience is the key. One needs to learn to wait.
- Be polite. Stop feeling ignored.
- Be sensible with the use of emojis and abbreviations.
- Giving timely reminders instead of continuous poking.
- Try to predict the nature of the receiver, and understand and appreciate the intimacy with the receiver.
Digital conversation is ultimately a mutual affair. Patience for the response and prediction about others’ situations are two key attributes to avoid potential relational issues.
Everything takes time, including typing, and to finally respond. Therefore, people should be given considerable time to read, think, and respond to your messages. Delay in time should be accepted and dealt with politely and a genuine approach.
It must not be pressurising for any party. There is no use in developing negative emotions, particularly the feeling of being ignored/abandoned if messages are delayed owing to one’s preoccupations. Moreover, these apps offer several ways to express (use of emojis). What I feel is that excessive use of emojis may have an unpleasant effect if in case, the receiver is not comfortable with the expression of the emojis, and might produce misleading perceptions and understanding of the message. Therefore, be assured about the competency of the receiver about handling this sort of digital language before sending them.
Abbreviations (LOL, K, HMM, and GUD) are usually used during chats, posts, and comments on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. It is generally not a standard way of expression, which can have a possibly different meaning and interpretation for different persons.
Long sentences and complicated vocabulary should strictly be avoided. An effort should be made to write complete words to convey the actual meaning. Always initiate a short, straightforward conversation to fetch a quicker response. It is advisable to split the messages into reasonable small chunks to capture and sustain the interest of the reader.
Undoubtedly, digital conversations occur behind the anonymity of space. So presuming anything regardless of knowing the situation of the receiver can be unfair and detrimental to any relationship. Mutual harmony should exist between both conversationalists. Earnest efforts towards cultivating prosperous relations on such platforms should be made.
Parmveer Singh is an Assistant Professor of Extension Education at Khalsa College Amritsar in India. You can connect with him on Twitter.