Let’s compare talking on the phone with chatting on the internet. Chatting in this case means using instant messaging software like MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk. 

‘One-to-many’ conversations 

On the phone, you only speak to one person. On the internet, you can chat to several people at the same time. However, whenever we chat to our friends online, we assume that they are the ONLY person who is chatting to us.

I remember using my webcam and chatting with several people at the same time. Someone would type something funny, and I would smile. Then another person would type “why are you smiling?”.

The only other time that we talk to many people at the same time is if they are in the same room as us. However, if we are in the same room as our friends, we will usually be talking about the same thing.

When we are on the online, we could be chatting to 3 or 4 different people who probably don’t know each other. We will be having 4 different conversations at the same time. Those people may also be having 3 or 4 different conversations with their friends.

We are all co-existing in a weird and unique virtual room, having serious conversations with some friends, while having funny conversations with others! What does this do to our emotions?


On the phone, you can’t pause for too long. On the internet, you can pause for some time and do other things. 

Changing sentences mid-way

If you start to say something on the phone, you usually have to finish what you’re saying. On the internet, you can start to type one sentence, then change your mind mid-way.

You are given a chance to see what your initial response is, and then you are given the opportunity to change it. When we say something on the phone that we later regret, those words can never be ‘re-called’.

On the phone, you hear what the other person says, think about your initial response in your head, then you either say it or say an ‘edited’ version. 

When you are chatting online, you can say all the real responses that you want, and you can do it out aloud. Then, when you are ready, you type in the ‘appropriate’ reply to your friend.

A permanent record of your conversations

When chatting on the internet, you can scroll back to something you said earlier. And now that we can save our conversations, you can go over all your previous conversations. 

Excuses excuses!

(I haven’t edited this yet, which is why it looks so unorganised!!!)

(Actually, I keep updating it, then posting the updated version straight away. Very untidy, I know, but I’m not a ‘real’ journalist or commentator, so I don’t really care! It’s more fun this way! 🙂 )

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