I Can’t Catch Your Tone- Thoughts On How We Speak To People Online

When you speak to someone in person, you can tell exactly what they are saying and the message they are trying to get across. You can hear the words coming out of their mouth. You can see their facial expressions. You hear the the way in which they speak, the tone they are using and the gestures that go alongside it. You know what you’re getting.
But unfortunately, online conversations don’t have the same level of personality, which seems to create a lot of issues.
When you talk to someone online, you have your own voice in your head. You know you. Do they know you?
I have been thinking a lot about how we talk to people online and the way in which we communicate. What is online abuse and what is classed as abusive?
You know what the main issue is? The ambiguity of it all.
What could be abusive to me is just banter to you. What would be normal conversation for me, could be rude to you.
So WHY do we still let ourselves get caught int he trap of perception online?
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I have had so many occasions which have turned into massive fights, online arguments or even damaging relationships all because tone could not be portrayed over a message. I personally am quite a straight forward person. And if you know me, you know how I speak and converse, that’s cool. But about 1% of the people I talk to online could hear my voice in my writing. The rest of the world? Well you read it how you take it. You might think I am being really rude or blunt or down right arrogant, until you meet me in person.
So why do we still put ourselves in that position?
Why do we give ‘helpful criticism’ and get offended when our words are not taken how they are meant?
Why do we blame the receiver for reading our message how they did in stead of how we wanted them to?
I get so many messages which I struggle with on a daily basis. People who are ‘just trying to help’ or mean ‘no offence’ but come across like the rudest bastard I have ever met.
And I get upset. I’m only human.
After a few recent experiences I have realised the importance of tone and the impacts of the written word in conversation. So I want you all to think about how you speak to people online and whether your words could be misconstrued? If they might be offensive? And above all, are your words kind?
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.