There’s a boy in Models and Theories of Communication whose class participation features an unusually high signal to noise ratio. It’s something i expect, to an extent; everyone is tempted to talk about themselves and how our latest theory applies to them and their father, girlfriend, or pet hamster. In this particular case, at first i was convinced that there was a point or intention — the source of this noise is extremely well read, multilingual, and studious. However, in class those well aimed shots of his hands up into the air always wind up with me taking a deep breath and shooting one up in return because he seems to be missing the point, or obviously hasn’t done the reading, or is being wholly irrelevant.
Tonight we were talking about Berger’s Theory of Uncertainty Reduction as it pertains to interpersonal relationships, the number two axiom of which has to do with affilial physical behaviour and how it relates to how certain you are about someone (how well you know/understand them). Suddenly in my peripheral vision up goes a hand to me left, and it’s all i can do not to brace with a deep breath and a sideways glance to Jeff. Then comes the noise… what about people who develop their relationships online? A valid circumstance, to be sure, and an interesting debate to be had, but nothing that we really need to touch upon in the span of our three hour lecture. To even ask the question seemed highly noisy… obviously online relationships subscribe to a different communicative paradigm, and to try to apply them to many of our theories would require massive restructuring whenever they mention tone or physicality. I personally think if you step away from being argumentative with the interpersonal theories that they apply well to many of the relationships i’ve formed since i began this page, but the noisy boy had his own agenda and he was pressing forward with it as i seethed next to Jeff.
“What about people that keep open online journals? What is the explanation of how they fit into this scheme?” Of course, i had my hand raised and a sentence ready to fire about how journaling is really not an intentionally reciprocal communicative act so much as it is a journalistic one unless we are explicitly examining the interactions of a journaler with a peer. Before any of that could could get fired off, it was time for mid-period break, and i hauled Jeff out into the hallway with me to kvetch.
I was just getting to railing about how irrelevant blogging was to Berger and how i certainly knew better about that than some random classmate might when Noisy walks up to our conversation. I am not shy, and so i quickly point out his signal to noise ratio, and when he plays dumb about it i brought up my peeve only to find that his noise might have been a little more direct than i had initially thought.