Loading
Notes d'étude
Study Reminders
Support
Text Version

Digital Body Language

Set your study reminders

We will email you at these times to remind you to study.
  • Monday

    -

    7am

    +

    Tuesday

    -

    7am

    +

    Wednesday

    -

    7am

    +

    Thursday

    -

    7am

    +

    Friday

    -

    7am

    +

    Saturday

    -

    7am

    +

    Sunday

    -

    7am

    +

Digital Body Language

Welcome dear participants.In the fourth module of the fourth week we would take up digital body language whichis an emerging aspect of nonverbal communication.In the previous modules, we have looked at those aspects of nonverbal communication whichhave been traditionally associated with its studies.As a society is developing with the interface of technology we find that newer dimensionsin our understanding of nonverbal communication are being added.One major aspect is digital body language, which we would discuss today.When these studies and researches were taken up in nonverbal communication, they excerptdifferent responses to it.On one hand it resulted into sustainable research programs and at the same time it also attractedthe media people resulting in regular columns looking at the body language of differentfamous people.And, at the same time the professional settings were also influenced by this enriched understanding.And, that is why we find that gradually it became a compulsory part of different evaluationprocesses in professional settings.The conventional understanding of body language used to provide us a personalization.We could look at a person and on the basis of different kinesics use etcetera, we couldform a particular opinion.However, once the technology started to develop and with the presence of artificial intelligence,when we are looking at an unprecedented development in related fields this conventional personalizationhas become not only obsolete, but also in many ways redundant.And, now we find that in all aspects of Computer Mediated Communication that is CMC and understandingof Digital Body Language that is DBL has become an indispensable part for developing an insightinto the user sentiments, particularly at a massive scale and also to help us in benchmarkingthese tastes and preferences.Our understanding of digital body language improves the digital experience as a userand also as a person who has to develop further strategies on the basis of DBL.Our understanding of Digital Body Language has generated a renewed interest in studyingthis aspect of nonverbal communication in the light of new technological immediacy.This aspect of DBL has further been enriched by certain other researches, particularlyin the area of NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming which suggest that we can shift from a negativebody behaviour to a positive one and we can learn it as a new skill.We will look at the conventional aspects of body language be it the kinesics or our expressionsthrough our face, the voice quotes etcetera.It is generally believed that they reflect our emotions and are an indication of ourmind-sets.And these indications used to complete our understanding of any communication processand they also helped us in generating a proper feedback.In terms of feedback and in terms of understanding the message completely, these used to providevaluable indications and cues.Now, we find that in the digitalised age, these aids are not any more accessible tous.Sometimes, people feel that the digital age has killed these aids to the immediate transferenceof meaning.However, I would say that instead of killing these aids that digitalised age has only digitalisedthese aids and it has provided us a different set of cues for effective and intelligiblecommunication.No study of any aspect of communication can be absolutely isolated from the context inwhich it is taking place.And today’s context is moulded by our technological understanding.We cannot imagine any communication today, without any direct association with technologyand it is only natural that our understanding of body language is also given an additionaldimension.The digital body language initially is started to track a person’s behaviour, how doesa person behave while browsing the pages and it helped us to know whether the website usersare bored with the content or they are frustrated or they are engaged etcetera.I would like to quote from an article by Joseph Walther, who has suggested that most of thetheories on computer mediated communication tend to reduce nonverbal communication toa ‘black box’.Assuming that our nonverbal cues lead to a variety of functions, which are compulsorilyisomorphic and I quote suggesting that “nonverbal cues are tied directly and exclusively tocommunicative social functions, such that the absence of such cues precludes functionaleffects from occurring”.At an early stage of their development, the communication theories which tend to addressCMC by and large looked at the negative aspects of a communication event, which is occurringwithout traditional nonverbal cues.And, they assumed a one to one correspondence between NVC’s and its associated socialfunctions, even though there are many theoretical approaches to address this situation.I would prefer to refer to these three theories, which is started different responses in theirwake.The first is a social presence theory, the second is lack of social contact hypothesisand the third is the media richness theory.The first theory social presence theory was put forward by Short, Williams and Christyin 1976.The theoretical approaches which come under this theory is started when there was a remarkableshift from a face to face communication to audio or video conferencing.When we shifted to audio or video conferencing, we found that many cues of nonverbal communicationstarted to become absent.For example, in video conferencing haptics was absent, proxemics was also absent.In audio conferences, we find that even kinesics lost it is significance.The theoretical approach felt that these conventional cues helped us in registering a social presencethat is associated with certain levels of association.For example, they can indicate whether there is any sense of friendliness in the attitudeof the interactant or not.The second theoretical approach is in a way not very different from the first one.The lack of social contact hypothesis was suggested in early 1980s by Kiesler, Siegeland McGuire etcetera.They suggest that in face to face communication, nonverbal aspects of communication establishis social context of interaction within which different people interact and the social contexthelps the participants to infer what should be the normative behaviour and perform accordingly.In the absence of this social context, participants are de-individualized and they tend to behavein ways which are rather self obsessed because they do not have the opportunity to look atthe behaviour of others and receiving the cues and at the same time it can be aberrant.In comparison to these two theories, we find that the third theoretical approach is slightlydifferent.The media richness theory was proposed by Daft and Lengel in a paper in 1984 and thenthey further extended it in 1986.They suggest that the non verbal aspects of communication as we traditionally understandthem, provide us to form as well as to interpret our messages with the help of multiple cuesand these multiple cues provide a certain richness to the message which is unequivocal.And therefore, the comprehension of the message becomes easier.Whereas the first two theoretical approaches, the social presence theory and the lack ofsocial contact hypothesis, focus on the absence of social interaction, the media richnesstheory is more related with a comprehension at an individual level.These theoretical approaches which have been termed as the ‘black box’ theory, verysoon changed into adaptive models of hyper personal CMC and social information processingor SIP theories.As the technology changed our perception about it is use in different professional settings,our attitudes towards it and our relationships with it also changed.And these changing perspectives are reflected in the changing SIP theories.According to these theoretical approaches, users exploit or rather they work throughthe relative lack of nonverbal cues and then they can also develop a different set of cues.According to these theories the cue that is still remains dominant in CMC is Chronemics.We have looked at chronemics as a part of our newly emerging understanding of nonverbalaspects of communication, but still it was based on cultural perception.These theoretical approaches in the context of CMC have suggested that chronemics is availableeven in computer mediated communication.At the same time, we find that with a help of technology, we can re-introduce certaincues or generate a different set of cues, which can be understood by people and canreplace the conventional set of cues.For example: the emoticons, the avatars, the videos as well as the anthropomorphic icons.Body language conventionally believed that one sends external messages through body behaviourand it was thought that sensory perception strength and communication.And the understanding of body language was linked as how our modes and attitudes, feelingsetcetera, can be grasped by the other person and vice versa.However, scientific researchers have now claimed that our body language also sends internalmessages.And, it can be used not only to influence other people, but it can also be used to influenceand reshape our own attitudes.For example, if we maintain a positive body language, then gradually our emotions wouldhave a positive shift.This scientific research has strengthened, the conventional understanding which alwaysbelieved that there is a very close association between the body and the brain.At this point, we can also refer to NLP or the Neuro Linguistic Programming again, whichfocuses on how mind and body influence each other.In the context of computer mediated communication, the temporal dynamics remain important.This has been pointed out by various researchers, I would refer to a particular research whichwas published in 1988 by Hesse, Werner and Altman.They have suggested that chronemics of e-mail are significant nonverbal cues as all userscheck the time stamps.They look at the time, when the response was received as well as if there is any delayin receiving the reply.So, the time it takes the receiver to form a reply and to post this reply to an e-mailenables the receiver to form opinions.And this research has also suggested that these opinions often tend to be on the negativeside.For example, they would be biased attributions for delay in responses.We can assume personal failures as reasons instead of situational difficulties.And these biases and the human tendency to look at the negative side, first, can erodethe initial trust in any professional situation and therefore, these researchers tell us thatchronemics in e-mail or in any social media is important.Another aspect, which has been termed as the textual paralanguage is the use of emoticons.Emoticons originated in Japan in 1990s and have become very popular now.They now have a pervasive presence, they convey emotions and tone of voice in online communicationand are easily understandable.For example, we understand, what is the meaning of asterisk around words and phrases or forthat matter writing in all caps is equivalent to shouting.Digital Body anguage is a catch phrase in the same manner in which body language is.The phrase was first all introduced by Stevens Woods in 2009.In his book Digital Body Language, Steven Woods is the co-founder and Chief Technologyofficer at Eloqua.And he used this phrase to describe track able patterns in online behaviour of customers.Steven Woods suggested that digital body language is an art as well as a science which revolvesaround detecting and understanding prospective buyers signals and intentions to better communicatewith them.And he also suggests that the transition that had started about a decade ago with the arrivalof the internet and the introduction of various new ways of accessing information and passingit onto others, required a significant rethinking on the people of marketers, sales professionalsand the organisations they serve.Digital body language according to him has become a need in today’s society.So, what exactly the phrase digital body language refers to?It refers to every interaction and gesture a user makes on a website or on an app.Ranging from how fast and at which angles they move their mouse, where they click, wherethey hover around in a scroll, how do they device rotations, the rate at which they tap,where they pinch and similar other things.These concerns basically is started with the sales people, people who wanted to tap theonline availability of resources for marketing.So, gradually we find that increasingly online sales and feedback systems for getting dataand related information about the customer behaviour were generated.The people, who manage company policies, started to realise the significance of and I quote“capturing, understanding and processing the subtle signals” that are part of theonline processes and they came to be known as digital body language.The creation of the digital profile was primarily done by the sales people, but with the helpof the connotations we find that very soon it started to be used in almost every otherdimension of our life.With the help of our digital profile, one can analyse information about our interest,intentions and concerns not only about a product, but also about any other issue about whichwe might have shown an online curiosity.So, digital body language and its understanding results in meaningful campaigns and questionsalso.A 2007 survey, which was conducted by Knowledge Storm and Marketing Sherpa, acknowledged thechanging sales world and it found that 93 percent of the customers felt that onlineinformation was almost as valuable as information which they receive from any other source.For example, the publications or handbooks or other printed publicity material.84 percent of the customers used one of the major search engines to begin their explorationfor information.Nearly 75 percent of the buyers gather the maturity of their purchasing information onlineand four-fifths of the customers use the web at least once a week to search for new information.These findings are from a 2007 survey and since that we find that the presence of technologyhas only been enhanced.So, we can imagine the contemporary impact of technology in our understanding of interpersonalbehaviour.And therefore, Digital Body Language has started to become a focus in contemporary research.Whereas, all the researches are unanimous in suggesting that the digital world is importantand so is our understanding of digital body language.There are certain reservations about its applicability particularly in those organisations, whichare focused on learning and related with development of human beings.Technology enabled communications and earning transactions bring about various changes inour behaviours.And we find that not only the professions, but services also are shifting to digitalmodalities.It is convenient of course, it is quick also it saves time and it is cost effective also.Normally it is within reach of common man.However, concerns have been raised particularly about the classroom situations, where it wasfelt that the traditional ways of receiving of feedback about the behaviour of the studentsthrough eye contact, proxemics, voice differences etcetera; if absent may be detrimental totheir development.Digitization may result in lesser real time engagements, which may affect the opportunityon the part of a teacher to adapt to the body language in a classroom and suggest interventionif it is required.At the same time we have to admit that our lack of comfort or our lack of competencein the use of digital methods may also result in certain reservations.Digital body language has been succinctly explained in this interesting video.So, we all know what human body language is; often times up to 80 percent of face to facecommunication is really through body language.But in today’s world, when we are often in global virtual teams most of the time upto 80 percent of the time we are not in the room with one another anymore.It is right.We have to understand, what are the new cues and signals of being able to read people,to understand what do they really mean, when they wrote that e-mail when they sent.Yeah.At a certain time and digital body language are the new hidden cues in signals in ourdigital conversations.They help us to understand, why did someone said that timing of the e-mail at that point.Yes.Or, if a CEO writes in ok with a period does that period mean something, everything fromthe trace of the medium we use to the punctuation we used to the timing of our response to whowe CC and BCC in our conversations are signals at digital body language today.Often times, we think we know exactly what another person is saying.Right.But what we have actually seen in the data, is that there is an immense amount of misunderstanding,anxiety and confusion on what did that person really mean?Because we do not have the context of the stare, the eye, the nod, the shake that weuse to in human body language.So, I have a few best practices to help people actually make sure that they are learninga little more about their own digital styles but also using digital body language intelligently.Can you give me one example?Of course, the first one is that brevity can cause confusion.Often times, we go for the shortest team.Right.I will be ok or send me this, but many stories one of my favourite examples was the CML,who was sent a big document from her team about a big project and write some one linerthat has just a random thought she had on her head, that she would say in a meeting,but people would not take serious you know they would take as just an idea.Although, sudden after that one liner email, because they had not really seen her context,they created a work stream within a week and spend hours working on something that shedid not even really need.I see.And so, sometimes we have to be really conscious of how are we communicating and are we reallybeing clear.Right.In today’s world and that there are new signals that, we have to be conscious of.The second is that timing is everything.Often times what we see is, that we can respond 24 7 all the time, some people expect thatsome people would never expect that.Right.And we really have to think differently about expectations around timing.One of the greatest things, I found in my research is that if you send a thank you e-mailwithin a few minutes or an hour of the meeting versus a few days or week later there is asignificant difference in how people feel connected to that thank you.And it is simply, because it is almost like a signal of the virtual handshake which issomething that, we cannot do in a same way in our virtual round.So, I had encouraged everyone to think about, what type of digital body language am I projecting.And how can I make sure I am being clear and avoiding being misunderstood in today’sdigital.Digital Body Language is about how with the help of computers, we can understand bodylanguage.And now we feel that computers are coming, which can read our body language.Real time detectors can understand hand gestures and track multiple people and make detectionson the basis of the hand movements only.Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute have enabled a computer,which can understand the body poses and movements of multiple people from video in real time.Including for the first time the pose of each individuals hands and fingers also.The technological capability to track and individuals movements had been there for avery long time now, but this idea that computers can look at the individual people gesturesin a crowd and can make detections on it is basis is a revolutionary concept.This new method was developed with the help of the panoptic studio, which is a two-storydome embedded with 500 video cameras.And, the insights gained from experiments in that facility have made it possible todetect the individual pose of a group of people using a single camera and a laptop.It is interesting that the word panoptic has been retained to level this recent technologicaldevelopment.The Panopticon is initially an architectural design which was put forth by Jeremy Benthamin the middle of the 19th century.As a revolutionary concept for the design of prisons, insane asylum, schools, hospitalsand factories and the idea behind it, that the modern democratic state needed a systemto regulate it citizens which was different from medieval torture rooms and dungeons.The Panopticon offered a powerful and sophisticated internalized coercion, which was achievedthrough the constant observation of prisoners by a single sentry.The constant observation according to Bentham acted as a control mechanism; a consciousnessof constant surveillance was internalized, which enabled the people, the prisoners orthe school children for that matter to understand the propriety of behaviour.This particular design was also cited by Foucault as one of the techniques and regulatory modesof power and knowledge dyad to explore the relationship between them.So, Foucault used to understand the systems of social control and people in a disciplinarysituation.It is interesting that this smart mass scale reading of body language uses the same metaphordesign; uses the same metaphor the same design, which had been used in the 19th century.These methods for tracking 2D human form or motion open up new ways for people and machinesto interact.And very soon it is hoped that it would allow a robots to serve in social spaces.In a way, we can say that the understanding of body language would allow the scientistto program the behaviour of robotics in a manner in which they can interact with humansociety without any conflict.In today’s world, we continuously leave what is known as on-line footprints.Our digital body language as well as our on-line presence has become a favourite tool for recruiters.Particularly, when there is a strong connectivity of different on-line sites, which createsan inescapable digital personality.And therefore, it is important for us to understand that our body language not only on socialmedia, but in the use of any technological resources should be positive.For example, the way we use hash tags on our Twitter account, the response which we sendto different messages is delete or is it immediate, what is the time of the day during which weare using the social media and what is the time of the day in which we are using themedia for our work related issues.What are the links and people whom we follow?What are the types of messages we share?How often we link different media platforms in our own suggestions, for example, are wehabitual of re-tweeting the old tweets, do we connect our Facebook post with our linkedinpost also.Does our media presence show a respect for other people for the diversities of opinionsthrough likes and shares also or is it a negative one.So, we can conclude by saying that in today’s technological world, the understanding ofDigital Body Language is important.And equally important is our capability to maintain our digital personality in a positivemanner.It brings us to another aspect of body language and that is the precautions which we shouldtake while facing an interview on Skype.This is one particular aspect of body language, which perhaps can be taken later on in livesessions.Thank you.