Is WhatsApp affecting the quality of communication?
New technologies may be compromising face-to-face interactions.
In our current society we are well aware that we are fully immersed in the technological era, the virtual world and remote communications. Face-to-face" contact is becoming obsolete and is being is being replaced at an astounding speed by contact through social networks such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Twitter. such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other applications and networks that allow us to have conversations without leaving our homes.
A communication that is changing... inevitably
There is no doubt about the many practical and speedy advantages of new technologies, but... Does this type of virtual contact affect communication? Does it interfere in any way, perhaps hinder it? Or, on the contrary, is it equally effective in all aspects compared to "live" communication?
To start discussing this question, it is important to bear in mind that communication is based on three aspectsthe locutionary act, the locutionary act y perlocutive. This is how experts refer to the act of saying something, the intention or purpose of the speaker and the effects or consequences produced by this, respectively.
Different channels, different communicative realities
In this regard, it is very interesting to learn about the contributions of the Canadian cognitive psychologist David R. Olson. This author has thoroughly investigated the relationship between written culture and thought. Among his main reflections, Olson states that the exact transcription of speech into written language or reading is not possible.. Its justification was based on the fact that, when we move from speaking to reading, we lose the illocutive capacity of language, since the writing model itself does not represent this capacity.
Therefore, based on this theory, virtual communication would indeed maintain the locutionary and perlocutionary acts. But what about the illocutive act? A prori, no.
WhatsApp and the various forms of online communication exclude the illocutive act.
Included in speech communication are many aspects that would be lost in written communication. Such as the prosodywhich encompasses a large number of relevant communicative aspects, such as the tone and pitch of voice used (higher pitch can denote nervousness and higher pitch can mean dissatisfaction), the accent and intonation used.
And going even further, in the case of "face-to-face" speech communication, with respect to virtual, we would be losing all nonverbal information.. See where you direct your gaze, body movement and posture, gestures, facial expression... etc.
More differences and particularities of communication 2.0
Although on the other hand, communicating virtually with an unknown person is not the same as communicating with a known person.. In the latter case, a series of factors come into play, such as the experiences lived with that person, the knowledge in memory you may have about his personality, the subjective perceptions about him... etc...
All this leads to a series of expectations, to perceive the things he/she says knowing how to see "beyond" what he/she says and how he/she says it, as far as possible. These aspects would lead us to be able to make possible certain inferences about what is the communicative intention of our interlocutor or, as I mentioned before, his illocutionary act.
Conclusions and reflections
Given the above, can we conclude that virtual communication is the same as face-to-face speech? Of course not. But neither would it be wise to consider that communication through new technologies should be sentenced and discarded from our lives.
The fact that online communication dispenses with the illocutionary act is a half-truth. In reality, this very important aspect of communication depends to a large extent on many factors. For example, the the level of knowledge of the other person, through to the level of writing and the written and written expression skills of the interlocutors, to the level of written comprehension of the receiver. In addition, it should be taken into account that virtual communication applications incorporate a wide repertoire of emoticons, stickers and sounds through which, with all the logical limitations, this type of illocutive comprehension, which theoretically would be excluded in this type of communication 2.0, can be replaced.