Virtual interaction is hard, many people say. As you cannot tell one’s personality too easily from just emails, texts, Google hangouts and Skypes. Plus there is lack of social cues which are usually detectable from face to face interaction. If you can see somebody pouts, frowns or grins, you know what makes them happy, sad, annoyed. What if you cannot?
There are still a lot to pick up to understand one’s virtual personality!
I used to work with someone who responses to every single email, generous, encouraging and positive. That is a great email personality. At the same time, you can imagine how much attachment there is with the blackberry. I most of time walking out of our working lunch, counting the minutes my colleague looks up from the blackberry. A personality online is not necessarily the personality offline.
Another thing fascinates me is how one discusses and negotiates during virtual collaboration. One thousands men have one thousands ideas. It is hard enough to discuss and debate in person. Doing it virtually is even harder. How does one raise questions, how does one express different opinions, how does one listen (if he/she really does), how does one compromise, how does one admit mistake? How are the process and rules set? Does it include everyone? As someone who came out of a totalitarian environment, I learnt never to take discussion for granted, even online.
The hardest part – interpret silence. I can find out if one is process driven or result driven, if one likes to lead or support by things done, words said. Silence, however, is hard to decode.
One of the best dating advice I have received is – see what a man does, not what he says. This carries truth even for virtual personality!