Negative Aspects

  • Telepresence: Are they really there?
  • Meanings lost in translation
  • Isolation
  • Emotions lost or confused

The concept of telepresence can be deceiving. Telepresence is defined as using technology to give the appearance of an individual being present at a location other than the actual location of that individual. This illusion of physical presence disables the use of our bodies. As a consequence, physical interaction with our surroundings continually loses importance. As newer technologies have reduced the distance between two people, the distance has increased between the person and his or her body. This separation limits the interaction and communication between an individual's mind and body.

The most common conflict is the misinterpretation of words on the Internet. Most people do not have the capabilities to articulate their ideas on paper as well as they do while directly speaking with someone. For this reason, many times, the intentions of an online communicator's words are misinterpreted or misunderstood. This communication barrier creates many conflicts in relationships, business deals, and correspondence.

As more people rely on the Internet to communicate rather than physically meet people, the problem of isolation becomes greater. Internet technology, in many ways, isolates individuals from a social scene. Although there are social networks online, the physical aspect is lost. Using the Internet is more of an individual activity, and thus it can isolate people from live social interaction.

Another common conflict is the confusion or loss of emotions in an online conversation. This situation is a specific and important example of miscommunication and misinterpretation of words online. Studies show that when chatting online, users are more likely to have an argument as a result of misinterpreting emotions. AOL Instant Messenger encourages the use of "smileys," or emoticons, to express users emotions, however, these emoticons can only do so much. Emotions are complex and many times difficult to understand, and emoticons fail to clearly explain them. A commonly misinterpreted emotion is sarcasm. Sarcasm is usually detected by the tone of the speaker's voice, however, online, the listener only has words to use to interpret the meaning. Therefore, many times, sarcasm will mot be detected, which leads to miscommunication and conflict.



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