Verbalizing Nonverbal Communication

There is this thing called non-verbal communication. Human brains are naturally wired to pick up non-verbal clues during conversation and assign meaning to them. This way we can distinguish irony and sarcasm from sincerity and etc… Written word does not provide nonverbal clues the way a real-life conversation does. The additional information must be wrapped into a narrative, or communicated via exclamations and emoticons. These things serve only one purpose – they replace the nonverbal clues that would otherwise be lost. Your IM buddy will never know that you are laughing at his/her joke or that your are rolling your eyes unless you explicitly communicate it via text.

Here is something that I do not understand: why do some people insist on pronouncing some of these textual representations of nonverbals. You have probably seen it yourself. Nearly everyone has that one friend, or acquaintance who insists on actually saying things like “twitch”, “glup”, “wink wink” and etc. This annoys the hell out of me! If you are one of these people, please do me a favor and STOP DOING IT! And if you really, really need to say “twitch” could you at least attempt to actually twich while you say it? Then, once you get into the habit, can you slowly phase out the verbal part? I think most of us can figure out what you are saying just from the tone of your voice and your expression.

Think about it, this is almost as ridiculous as using LOL in a face to face conversation instead of laughing. If you actually ever uttered “lol” in real life, you need to be severely beaten with a stick and your internet privileges need to be revoked permanently.

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