Developing relationships and connections with others on the internet is a new phenomenon. With the invention of Facebook and many other communication focused tools, our society is capable of being connected with people at all times; there are benefits and drawbacks brought up due to this. Some of the benefits include: being able to build friendships with people from other states or even countries, staying in touch with family members, and discovering others who are interested in the same things as you. Online dating is another potential benefit, you could end up meet your significant other through a website.
On the other hand, relationships built online are a tricky subject. I believe that its difficult to fully understand someone without face-to-face interaction. The ability to read body language and facial expressions during a conversation allows for a deeper connection. Reading text on a screen can be easily misinterpreted. Elements of our language like sarcasm are almost impossible to detect without physically hearing the person speak. Personally, I have a dry sense of humor which could be comprehended in a negative way over text. Real conversations add a level of complexity that just doesn’t exist through a screen. I’ve had experiences where a text caused huge miscommunications between friends. Relationships that only exist online contain certain limitations, it’s difficult to completely know someone. The ability to read body language is an acquired skill that is necessary in understanding how another person is feeling. Online, you can’t see how the other person is positioning themselves or any gestures that they could’ve made during the conversation. You’re losing an entire aspect of communication. Dangerous situations are possible when it comes to posting information about yourself. There is even a show, called Catfish, that centralizes around online dating website users who are “fake.” They devise profiles and put up pictures that aren’t themselves to draw people in who wouldn’t normally be interested in them.
The constant accessibility to connect with others online isn’t always a bad thing. I love sharing my pictures from college with my friends and family back home. I also know that when I travel abroad next year I will really appreciate being able to call/text my family and update them. Making online friends can be a comfort to some, especially people who are able to find others with the same interests online. Creating a balance between oversharing and being connected is the best way to go about living in a society so focused around the internet. I don’t think that I could ever have a relationship solely built online, I am the type of person who needs to interact in a real world setting to completely know someone. I hope that in future generations, the aspects of communicating like tone and body language aren’t lost due to overuse of texting or online activities.