Listserv communication

I am a Beta here at Denison, and as a result I am part of a listserv to which only Betas and our advisers are privy.  People share exciting stories and successes they have, as well as asking for help with things such as work, picking classes, etc.  Every once in a while though, someone decides to air their concerns via the listserv, which never goes over well.  Since it is an email and one cannot see or hear the person speak, they have an absence of verbal and nonverbal cues and visual cues such as body language.  Often times, these rants or expressions of frustration are misinterpreted or blown out of proportion, which leads me to my point…email communication, or any textual type of communication for that matter, is pointless in my opinion, only if you are trying to express opinions.  If you are giving event details or congratulations to someone, email is appropriate but frustration and anger? Not at all.  It is better to discuss things in person so one can observe body language, listen to tone, and read facial expressions.  Thoughts from fellow Greeks?

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6 comments so far

  1. eberg5 on

    Listserv sounds like a pretty great tool for communication with fellow Betas. As a Delta Gamma we have myDG which keeps us updated on information about other Delta Gammas; however, I don’t think it’s as much as a forum as Listserv seems to be. You are correct that places like this where words and opinions without body language and tone can cause some trouble. It is hard to communicate across the internet exactly what you are trying to say without offending any parties. In these situations word choice is essential for whatever audience is reading your posts. As I was reading Jason’s blog post I recalled how many of my older relatives often TYPE IN ALL CAPS AS IF THEY WERE YELLING AT YOU. Sometimes their exciting news is followed by an obnoxious amount of exclamation points to show their extreme happiness!!!!!!!! Often texts can also portray feelings, or lack there of, that didn’t mean to come across in the text when really someone could be in a hurry or just have a different communication style. All in all, it seems that person-to-person is still the best form of successful communication.

  2. julie1990 on

    Well, I’m not a greek, but I think that this is an interesting point. In fact, it’s for this reason that my boyfriend and I refuse to discuss anything serious via text message -it is simply too easy to see something on a screen and misinterpret the sentiment behind it, which is why I’m interested in this point. The phenomenon that you bring up here, that it’s inappropriate to communicate emotionally sensitive messages through a test or e-mail, I believe is tied not to the messenger but to the audience. I believe that it is indicative of the reciprocal nature of communication -since non-verbal cues and emotional appeals are so integral to the way that audiences interpret messages and gauge messengers, it is difficult to separate the emotional interpretation when there is an intermediary between speaker and audience. That a reader may take remorse for sarcasm or sarcasm for aggression speaks to the sensitive nature of written communication and makes one appreciate the clarity of face to face interaction.

  3. carospence on

    I think that email as a form of addressing a public is ineffective. An email is one-sided although it expects an audience. In that way, an email is a sort of self-indulgent and inconsiderate form of address. One sends out the email and is free of the immediate reaction that one would have to deal with in saying things out loud in front of people. Also, people feel they must read your emails because you spent the time to craft them. Thus, you aren’t really fully considering your audience when emailing and are almost thinking more of yourself and what you need to say.
    An example of when regular ol’ public address would be more effective than email is in regards to the “campus climate” emails or emails from the Provost’s office that are hoping to update us on the campus climate and address and inspire change. These emails share important information and have a nice sentiment but are ultimately less effective than if another convocation was held and the author’s of the emails each spoke directly to the the student body.

    Caroline Spence

  4. robgentle on

    The above post highlights one of my key problems with any form of written communication, the lack of non-verbal cues. Without non-verbal cues, I find it incredibly hard to decipher both the intention and the sincerity of the speaker. The inflection of a speaker, the way she stands and the amount of eye contact a speaker makes can make the same statement have two very different meanings. I wouldn’t say that written communication is pointless, but inefficient when conveying messages that are not mostly factual.

  5. flynnquisition on

    I’m not greek either, but I agree to a point. It’s especially difficult to detect sarcasm via text, or, when you’re expecting sarcasm, it’s hard to determine when something is actually sincere. This reinforces the idea that “it’s all in the delivery”. It’s so hard to interpret how a writer intends for their words to come across, and so one must be exceedingly careful if they intend to deliver a message via text.

  6. dupublicaddress on

    I definitely agree that there are some issues with written communication. I’ve been in fights with friends and loved ones that involved a text being interpreted wrong and, like Jason said, things being blown completely out of proportion. Still, I agree with the 2nd poster that calling written communication pointless is going to far. I mean, imagine trying to plan dinner with friends or study groups with classmates without e-mail or text messages…
    -Lauren W


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