“But that can’t be right, you’re always online!”
“But I know you can type quickly”
How can anyone be scared of online chat? Well, I am.
I like to take my time considering any kind of written response to a comment, question, or greeting. Anyone who might have looked over my shoulder on the bus will see that I am likely to write and re-write a text message until I’ve got the tone just right, with not too many exclamation marks and just the right kind of smiley on the end.
With online chat, I can’t take time to consider my response. There’s another person at the other end of the conversation, waiting for me to speak. The pressure this places on a sensitive, nervous little person like me is unbelievable. It is so much harder to express the intent and emotion behind your words through the use of written words alone. In my own time I can get there, but I simply cannot pull a witty comeback or even any kind of worthy small talk out of my hat without pausing to think about it first.
My facebook chat function has been set to offline for at least two years now. I dabbled in MSN a few years ago but then with the advent of mobile phone plans with unlimited text messaging, I no longer needed MSN to talk to my friends and instead I only ever got messages from non-English speaking people wanting to show me a photo album and/or steal my password.
The boyfriend and I both enjoy a game of online poker. He likes to chat to other players, whether they are his real life friends or random persons from far flung corners of the globe. I don’t like to chat. I once joined in a conversation, because a player had asked me a question directly, but then it all just felt weird and I couldn’t concentrate on poker because I was panicking about trying to quickly respond to chat. I quickly lost the game and fortunately managed to find the option to disable chat before starting my next game.
I don’t even want to think about Snapchat. Apparently it’s no longer just for people who want to send self-destructing photos of their bits to potential fuck buddies. I’ve heard that normal people use Snapchat to just, well, chat. Seeing as I’ve never been one for capturing everyday life, or even the most significant moments, on camera I don’t think I’d find too much use for Snapchat.
Life now offers us a vast number of ways to communicate, in words and in pictures, for better but sometimes for worse, which is why it’s more important than ever to think, just for a second, before we speak.
Because just like you can’t un-see that Snapchat your boss sent you by mistake, you can’t un-press the ‘send’ button in online chat.
Nicki Ranger is a freelance writer currently based in Perth, Western Australia.
All text content © Nicola Ranger 2013-2019. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.
All reader comments are moderated before publication.