Emotion And IM

Published Date
26 - Mar - 2009
| Last Updated
26 - Mar - 2009
 
Emotion And IM

Crack A Big :-)


As writers, we’ve loathed what instant messaging has done to people. While we meticulously craft our sentences and use whole words, there’s usually an idiot at the other end tryn 2 tlk lk ths. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t love the medium.

There are many who believe that IM throws sand in the face of the statement that you lose about 85 per cent of communication when you’re not face-to-face. That idea would make sense when we’re talking about letters, but this is instant messaging we’re talking about. IM isn’t writing, it’s speaking. In text. And now, it’s been proved that IM is just as successful at communicating emotion as regular interaction.

Jeffery Hancock at Cornell University asked 44 volunteers to chat with a partner for about 20 minutes, find out more about each other and discuss their woes. Before the chat, one partner from each pair was shown either a particularly depressing scene from Sophie’s Choice, or a boring video of a small talk. After the chat, the participants were asked to comment on their partners’ mood, and surprisingly enough, all of them were dead accurate. Even more surprising, people who were paired with partners who had watched Sophie’s Choice actually felt sadder than they did before the chat.

Of course, there will be many who disagree — face-to-face is the only way, they’ll say. And that’s understandable. For many of us, IM has become second nature, but we can’t really see ourselves saying “OMG!” to our parents, who would likely not be as comfortable with IM as we are. We’re willing to wager that most of, if not all, the participants were young, and have grown up IM-ing. As we’ve used the medium, so have we adapted to it, and made it almost as good as personal interaction.

 

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