January 27, 2005

How to say it

Communication is often hard in the best of situations. We never REALLY know what is in the mind of another person. With so much new technologies, I am fascinated by the various forms of communication that people choose and how different the quality of communication is on each of these new forms.

When I got my first computer, I emailed Tamar every day. The computer was a hand-me-down from her, an adorable MacPlus that I learned how to navigate and love and later miss when I outgrew it. But after a stretch of emails and no voice, I missed the phone conversations, the sound of her voice. Iíve tried instant messaging. Sometimes it is a blessing, an expediency, a direct form of communicating. But if I donít know the person well, I feel awkward. And then there is the wait for response and then also (the confusing at times) overlapping of replies.

There is more space around an email than meeting someone face to face. There is the time to think about each sentence, each word, each thought. There is little pressure to respond until you are ready, till the thoughts have emerged in full bloom, gifts of words. But it is a flat form of communication: there is no intonation, no subtleties of voice, no knowing the hesitation behind the words.

The phone is good because you hear a voice along with the words. But still, no face, no expression of a face. For Christmas, Tamar and Dan gave me a video cam for my computer, and iSite gadget that we can now see and talk to each other. A really cool little machine, lets me see who I am talking to and even shows a little view of myself while talking. It has a little time delay, nothing to complain about. Helps keep me in touch with Damian who is growing so fast. Makes living so far away easier. Makes me less of a challenged grandmother. Still, nothing really replaces the reality of face to face communication. Especially on these cold and isolating winter days. We are already planning our next visit.

Posted by leya at January 27, 2005 08:16 AM