Saturday, March 14, 2009

Social Intercourse

Although we may all be bloggers pecking away at our little keyboards living wherever. I have observed the phenomena of social intercourse ie; dialogue and sharing of thoughts and ideas. I don't think there needs to be actual face to face contact in order to engage in social intercourse. In our virtual universe of the blogosphere we have posted our thoughts and ideas as a way of communicating with each other. I find it amazing the plethora of perceptions, sometimes similar to my sentiments and sometimes somewhat far removed. The level of intimacy and self disclosure varies as does the intent and content. It is not a passive pursuit, but it is solitary until someone out there provides feedback, a reality check if you will.

I find the anonymity of blogging somewhat comforting. You can say anything and be anything you want to be, or portray yourself as the idealized version of what you wish to be. There is no handshake, wink or nod to read some one's body language. Does this have an effect on how words might be interpreted? Maybe it is a safe way we find to express ourselves when we offer our opinions without fear of retribution.There are things we might say that under different circumstance we might be reluctant to espouse. Perhaps positive regard can be more freely expressed in person with a hug or gesture. How does that translate at the keyboard other than our "LOL" or sideways smiley face :) ? When we speak in person to people whom we know our voice and tone transmits our emotions.

Intimacy can be defined in many different ways. It does not necessarily have to involve body contact. Emotional intimacy is possible especially when it evokes feelings. There are many blogs I have read that facilitate meaningful feelings. The comments exchanged often are our attempts to acknowledge and or validate to the writer we understand or commiserate. Genuineness can only be assumed or inferred. It is necessary to take what is said at face value but there is no face.Perhaps instinct can somehow be transmitted through the keyboard when we are not entirely sure of the motivation.

I recommend that we all engage in intercourse as often as humanly possible.


underOvr (aka The U) said...

Good morning gaf85,

I had to go back and re-read this post a second time. This was neccessary because my comment had evolved into a post.

"I don't think there needs to be actual face to face contact in order to engage in social intercourse." I agree. But much of what makes face to face communication so much better is the quality of depth and dimension of that level of communication. People can express certain emotions in the virtual world but the nuanaces of communications are disabled.

"Does this have an effect on how words might be interpreted?" I believe it does. There is no one in authority who demands, "Who said that?" I am an anonymus voice in a crowd; nothing distinguishes me except my username.

"Perhaps positive regard can be more freely expressed in person with a hug or gesture. How does that translate at the keyboard other than our "LOL" or sideways smiley face :) ?" It does not translate; it merely simulates.

"Emotional intimacy is possible especially when it evokes feelings." This is where the the tires of the virtual vehicle come close to touching the pavement. Words evoke emotion in others. I can think of a handful of blogs that have affected me so deeply that I have tried to peer into a room that I had long ago shut. There are others who make me laugh everytime I read something they say. They remind me of childhood and how kids play during recess.

As I learn to write, I have revised my thinking now. I need that face to face interaction; I need to hear voices. I have become nosey now, listening to others interact at work, in restaurants, in airports. I look for conversations everywhere; from everyone. They help inspire me with stories I love to write.

Let me say that I enjoy exchanging thoughts with you. I have often found you to be candid, honest and at times even funny. For that, I'm both appreciative and thankful we met here.

Having said "I re-read and revised my comment because it resembled a post", it does not appear I succeeded. If it looks like a post and reads like a post how can it be a comment?


Madame DeFarge said...

I find blogging a reasonably safe way to engage with a wide variety of people, whom I will never meet. I enjoy reading other blogs and enjoy the feedback that I receive on mine. I suppose that I rarely want to be serious in my blog, it's just not me. I welcome the serious thoughts of others and try to respond in kind, but it's not that sort of outlet for me.

gaf85 said...

U, As usual your thoughtful feedback is most appreciated. From what you have written I surmise that anonymity influences communication in our virtual world of blogging. The main difference being the complex personal interaction between real individuals in the real world.

gaf85 said...

Madame, You make a very important point which I had not previously considered regarding humor as a valued form of communication. Readers are sometimes more able to relate to humor rather than always getting hit over the head with too much seriousness.