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Part 2: The Impact of Empathy in Digital Communication

digital empathy

A Problem within the Digital Communication Bubble

A massive problem within the “digital communication bubble” is the overwhelming exchange and massive use of digital messages. This could be a reason why people do not read between the lines making the effort to understand the sender’s emotion and feelings behind the message having an instant effect on empathetic responses. Moreover, digital communication faces additional problems, explicitly the communication with people whose personality is not known. In that case, the respondent may not be aware of the sender’s emotional state or mindset due to the lack of interpersonal relationship. Without the benefit of verbal inflections, it is hard to identify “e-sarcasm” from “e-serious”, “e-cold” from “e-formal”, or “e-busy” from “e-angry”. There are few ways to show a friend, a loved one, a group or a community as a whole that you feel empathetic towards their situation.

Language is a powerful tool to communicate and convey information; however, its means is also to express emotions. In the social context of digital communication, emotions are mostly accentuated by picturesque characters or pictographs, called emoticons. Certainly, humans are able to express emotions in the digital space via text or iconography but this is limited in scope and fails to include any indication of understanding or depth of feeling. Thus, there is a need in research to investigate the indicators of digital empathy over various communication channels supporting the thought of “digital personhood” by the research team of CEDE (2016) in order to understand what it means to be digitally human and in particular to investigate new methods to feel and express empathy using different communication channels – email and instant messaging (e.g. whatsapp, imessage).

My Research Study

Research studies exploring empathy in digital communication exist, e.g. identifying empathic behavior online on health organization websites and health support communities as well as investigating empathic behavior in social online communities. However, the effect of digital communication on human’s empathy within social relations is rather limited.

In many empirical investigations, digitalization is generally connected to the world-wide-web and its cause on communication online. In this research, I will focuses mainly on the impact of mediated communication on humans’ empathy, especially through email and instant text messaging.

digital_empathy

I appreciate your interest in my topic.

Do you have any suggestions regarding this topic ? You are more than welcome to state your comments and ideas below. I am happy to hear from you.

Thank you for your support – STAY TUNED

 

Theresa Vitera

Theresa Vitera

Theresa studierte Internationales Hotel Management an der Stenden University in den Niederlanden. Im Laufe ihres Studiums entwickelte sich ihre Affinität zur Strategieentwicklung sowie Kommunikation. Auslanderfahrungen machte sie in den USA als auch beim Studium auf Bali und in Bangkok, wo sie im Projekt zur Konzipierung eines Events in Thailand agierte. Arbeitserfahrung sammelte sie bei der Porsche Leipzig GmbH im Bereich Personalmanagement.

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