Chat rooms are a great place to observe communication in action. All across the globe people of all ages are trading information back and forth. Some people go to chat rooms to talk to their friends; some go to do communication homework; some go to meet new friends, and some people even go to make fun of people. There are all kinds of reasons to go to a chat room, but very few are aware of all the invisible and visible aspects that are occurring in a normal chat room.
There are so many chat rooms on the World Wide Web that it was difficult to find one that is suitable for you.
I decided to check out the teen chat room at Yahoo.com. I just observed at first and noted some interesting things I saw. For example, someone typed in “what’s ^ today.” Which in normal talk means “What is up today.” In one instance this is interpreted as a visible aspect, because the person who sent the message used letters and symbols for our eyes to see.
At the same time though, it is an invisible aspect because not everyone would know what that meant. It has no real meaning except for the meaning that was invented for it on chat room lingo. There are many examples of this chat room lingo. The most popular one is probably lol, which means laughing out loud. The visible aspect is the actual letters lol, but that doesn’t have any meaning to someone without a computer. If you do have a computer though it has meaning and you know the meaning from constant viewing of the phrase and that is an invisible aspect of communicating over the Internet.
I attempted to spark some conversation in this chat room. First I wrote “Hello everybody.” No one responded to me though. My visible aspect seemed good enough to trigger conversation with at least one of the fifty-four teens logged into this particular chat room. But, what I didn’t take into consideration was the invisible aspect that my statement carried with it. First of all I didn’t address it to one specific person, which would give them more of an incentive to answer back.
Using a private message would prove effective for a response as well. My statement also gives the recipients the idea that I don’t know anyone in the chat room. If I did know somebody in the chat room, the logical thing to assume is that I would say hello to them people first. So the individuals who did read my first statement assumed just that, either consciously or subconsciously.
I began to listen in on someone’s conversation, in so many words. It wasn’t much of a conversation though.
It consisted of two guys telling a girl she was fat in her picture and other sorts of ridicule while she defended herself. The visible aspect is the actual words on the screen and the fact that we know people are generating these words from a computer elsewhere. Next thing I did is tried to determine what they mean, or what they are saying without realizing how everyone interprets it differently. In my decoding of the fat jokes to the girl, I felt they are not confident in themselves, either in their physical appearance or feeling loved. For somebody to go in a chat room and pick on people must have very low self-esteem. The girl didn’t back down, but she didn’t appear to get upset either.
She didn’t retaliate once, which says to me that she is mature enough to accept who she is and isn’t afraid about what other people think about her.
Depending on how you decode messages, you may interpret something totally different than the next individual. This trait of communicating is the spice of life. It is what gives you your own preferences towards things like television and friends. Your favorite show depends on how the sent messages make you feel. The same with making friends.
However you and another send and receive messages together will determine if you become friends. Being aware of invisible aspects of communication helps when you are trying to get to .