It’s Not “Human”Posted by Time Barrow on May 19th, 2009
Categories: dissertation, OVC, Written to Oral
Following a meeting with my dissertation committee, it was drilled-in that what I am calling “Humanness”–the elements of face-to-face communication, such as visual (gesture, facial expression, attire, location, etc.), audio (voice intonation, volume, emotion, etc.), ability to be participatory– is really not represented well (or accurately) by that term. I need to come up with a better term (perhaps my own) for it. This is not a new idea, so I know the terms are out there. It is really about presence, visual social cues, verbal and non-verbal cues, fuller experience, etc. Dr. Eaton (not on my committee) suggested I check out Media Richness Theory – will do.
The reality is that I cannot call it humanness, since few would say that writing is less human than is FtF communication. The two communication forms are certainly different; so, I need to define/explain that difference. Basically, there IS something in distance communication that is limiting/limited in ratio to FtF. Is distance communication less valuable? Not necessarily, although it might be for certain types of communication. I think people have been saying that it is inferior to FtF all the way back to Plato. This is not the point that I am making, so I need to address that fully. Is it lesser in some way? I’d not say that on the whole it is lesser or inferior, but, since certain communication forms are missing, it is less complete, and perhaps less natural. I am merely noting that when one breaks down what forms of communication are present in FtF, it is clear that, depending on the distance communication type, not all of those forms are represented. However, it is not the humanness that is lacking. Distance communication is less productive and less ideal for certain situations/purposes; I’d say, this is because something (the entirety of those communication forms) is lost or at least substantially changed.
I need to fully detail what it is that is lost/changed. Then, I have a pretty decent question/thesis, since I am saying that we’ve lost something valuable, that it may not necessarily be lesser, but it has changed and is different. Then, I can discuss my thought that it is regained or satisfied through the online video conversation, and this recapturing becomes productive for something: conveyance, understanding/comprehension, instruction, etc.