New York Times: Face-to-face communication better than e-mail

October 10, 2007


New findings have uncovered a design flaw at the interface where the brain encounters a computer screen: there are no online channels for the multiple signals the brain uses to calibrate emotions.

Face-to-face interaction, by contrast, is information-rich. We interpret what people say to us not only from their tone and facial expressions, but also from their body language and pacing, as well as their synchronization with what we do and say. [NYT]

Written communication in an office setting has advantages; for example, you’re accountable for what you say because you have written proof. But at my last job there were a few people who would send me e-mails to say hello rather than walk 20 feet to say hello in person. Hm. In those cases, I can see what this writer is getting at.

I think, though, on the whole I agree with this Lifehacker commenter (also where I found the original article): “People need to learn to write! Mood and tone anyone?”


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