Social Media and Body Language

I read an article about body language and the nuances we make creating trust, or to show that we are being genuine. You know, like leaning in when listening to someone and nodding, or some sort of action to let the person know you are paying attention.

That is why Facebook is so offensive in my opinion. In a face-to-face conversation it’s pretty easy to recognize you may be offending another. If you have a point you want to make, it’s easier to tame your tone, to know when to clarify yourself, or change the topic altogether by paying attention to the body language of another. We don’t have to be experts in body language, most of it’s intuitive.

How does a person know that their writing is perceived as honest? A true part of their personality? We can’t see the author’s body language. For all we know the author can have eyes darting all over the place – a sign of not being genuine or truthful — or slumping in their chair – a sign of low confidence. Or many other signs we intuitively pick up on if we are showing respect to the person(s) we are speaking to and actually listening.

How do we convey our honesty through our words? Emojis don’t count. I can simply type something and it can be interpreted in any way according to what the reader knows about me if I’m posting about personal experiences and not writing a fictional story. If I were to write fiction, I would make a note of it, as I’ve seen others do. Some use social media for completely different purposes than I do, such as an outlet for their creativity, or non fiction. I have an opportunity to check facts and come to my own conclusions, and I have the ability to read a poem and interpret it how my leetle mind interprets it. (yes, I am aware I spelled little as leetle…but how do you know I’m not a complete idiot without the explanation?)

I don’t portray myself any other way than the way I am. I type the way I speak — well sometimes I use a larger vocabulary while writing than I do when speaking with friends…

…..but how do you know?


About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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17 Responses to Social Media and Body Language

  1. aviets says:

    You’re right – this is an aspect of blogging that is a big limitation and can be fraught with peril. What if my snarky comment is taken as cruel, when I meant to be funny? What if an innocent line hurts someone’s feelings? It’s difficult…

    • April says:

      It is difficult. I have had a few old friends on Facebook respond in a highly defensive way at my form of sarcastic humor. They were also basing my comments on how they knew me to be 30 years ago. I can be a sensitive person but have realized that words can do a lot and sometimes we read into words what we want. With the lack of body language, we have to use our imagination while using social media. The good thing about blogging, we do have the chance to ask for clarification if we are offended.

  2. mewhoami says:

    That’s a great point. I recently watched a video on how to spot a liar and they brought up some of the same points. It’s possible to see through a person when in person, but go online (social sites, text, email) and then it becomes nearly impossible. That’s why if I’m going to have a serious conversation with someone it will be in person. I want to SEE them.

  3. I often wonder about these same things. I prefer conversations face to face. I’ve often asked my husband if my posts seem like the ‘real’ me. Though I write honestly, I choose what and how to write. In ‘real time’ and face to face we don’t always have that edit button.

  4. reocochran says:

    Texts can also create mis-communications. I have had a few of mine misconstrued, April. This is an excellent subject for discussion and/or debate.
    Being honest in writing can make a big difference in the number of readers or followers one may have. I like your including how important body language, facial expressions and tone of voice are to help covey your point across to someone else.
    I sometimes “spill too much of myself out,” April. I also have an annoying habit which either “works” or it doesn’t. I tend to explain or give details on people’s posts which to me, (hopefully) helps close gaps and builds bridges. I may have said something which came across as rude. Not sure, but it kind of hurts to see someone you think is taking a break on someone else’s blog.

    • April says:

      It was just a thought I had about my kids and the time they spend texting or whatnot. I haven’t seen much rudeness through WordPress. Besides, if someone posts something I take offense to, I stop and think about it for a while. If it is still bothering me, I will ask for clarification.

  5. We are only responsible for what we say, not what the other part hear or think that we say April. You are right, it is difficult to use body language online.

  6. Elouise says:

    I’ve heard more than once that 90% of communication is body language. Whether that’s exactly right or not, I count on body language big-time in my face to face conversations. I think social media has alienated us from our own bodies–so that we’re loosing the skills of ‘reading’ body language. Too bad when only words on a screen seem to matter, along with the seemingly required substitutes for body language – emojis. I really appreciate this post, April. Partly because at my age I’ve resisted getting involved in social media. Blogging is my big and mostly happy exception!

    • April says:

      I was going to post statistics, but body language is the most important part of communication. Tone of voice comes right after that. I just hope the generation my kids are becoming adults in realizes how important it is to move beyond social media.

      • Elouise says:

        Wow. The part about tone of voice is new to me, and I totally believe it. I always thought it was just me being picky about it. As though what mattered were the words.

        • April says:

          I learned through Facebook that I couldn’t relay my feelings with just words. Many took my jokes or sarcasm as spiteful. Lesson learned–so I use emojis 😀

  7. Such a great topic to choose to write & then write so well 🙂 leetle was awesome. We see what we wanna see & not what others want to show in texts (most of the times)

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