I’ve already written about how someone smiling at me in real life can really make my day.
What I didn’t realise until now is that it can have the same effect online.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about how I’ve made some very close friends on Twitter. Well, like most friendships there’s the danger of getting too close. And in one particular case that’s exactly what happened.
As much as I love Twitter (and IRC, which I used when I first got access to the Internet), using only words to communicate can be risky. You’re missing all body language and other cues that tell you how the other person is interpreting what you say. (Sure, we have emoticons, but they’re hardly a substitute).
In fact, Twitter makes it even tougher because unlike IRC you can’t tell if someone is online or not. So you can find yourself sending message after message to someone who’s actually ignoring you, making the situation even worse.
And, you guessed it, that’s exactly what happened.
Fortunately my friend was honest with me, and let me know what I’d done wrong.
And we’ve hardly spoken since.
It’s upsetting to think I’ve screwed up such a great friendship (I haven’t been very good company the past few days). But the good news we’re starting to talk again. And today I got my first smiley in quite a while.
It may not mean much to you, but it meant the world to me.