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Do You Type More Than You Talk?

 

If you interact with your inbox as often as you socialize with real people, join the crowd. Most people communicate via social networks or email about as often as they speak face-to-face, according to a study conducted by the University of Michigan.

In a survey of 3,000 Generation X-ers involved in the Longitudinal Study of American Youth, the average person reported about 75 face-to-face conversations a month, compared to 74 electronic interactions on Facebook, Twitter, email, and Skype.

When you grow up with technology, using it feels natural, says study author Jon Miller, Ph.D., a researcher at the Institute for Social Research for Political Studies. “Busy people do what works, whether it’s keeping in touch with your cell phone, texting, tweeting, or emailing,” he says.

The thing is, you’re more likely to be misunderstood and perceived as unsociable–even ill tempered–when you rely on electronic communication, says communication specialist Miti Ampoma, author of The Innovative Communicator. (Just think about that coworker who returns your call with an email, or straight-out rejects your meeting requests.) Worse yet: if you let Facebook replace face time, your confidence suffers when you actually interact in the flesh, says Ampoma.

Want to keep your social skills up to snuff? Schedule regular face time. When you communicate offline you can see and read a person’s face, interpret their expressions, and better understand their moods and behaviors. “As long as personal communication remains, electronic communication is OK,” says Miller, “but the quality of your relationship can deteriorate if you rely solely on electronic communication—especially in serious relationships.” Allocate a total of two or more hours a week for human face time, and spend it with your friends, family, or partner. And put down your cell phone or iPad while you’re at it.

For more strategies on how to keep tech from ruling your personal life, follow these 7 tips for how to log more face time.

photo: Fogstock/Thinkstock

More from WH:
Does Touching Beat Talking?
4 Tech Tips You Can’t Live Without
Dirty Talk: The Art of Aural Sex

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