online relationships are really real
Okay, it’s no more than 26.4% real. Here’s my math, to show my work:
We have 5 senses: see, hear, touch, taste, smell. The online world allows us to see and hear one another. That’s 40%.
(Aside: I don’t think we want taste or smell. And, touch is one thing that’s hard to reproduce in any mediated way. And being a hugger myself, I do like touch, but can’t get that even from live & in-person people I’m around. And, when I’m in an Asian cultural context, that doesn’t help.)
There are 3 dimensions in the real world: height, width, depth. With web video technology, we can cover 2 of them, so that’s 66%.
Albert Mehrabian‘s describes that face-to-face communication consists of 7% words (verbal), 38% tone of voice, 55% body language. Web video technology transmits all of this, so that’s 100%.
40% x 66% x 100% = 26.4%
I’m being facetious. Face-to-face relationship is one kind. Online relationships is another kind. One does not replace the other. Each have some values in common and some values that are different.
And, I think, having both relating face-to-face and online connection can enhance and allow relationships to be that much more fuller than just one kind to the exclusion of the other kind.