To be honest, it would be impossible to say whether video chatting was better than text chatting, or vice versa. It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish – and on any weak points your communication skills happen to have.
Even if a clear consensus is impossible, it’s still a relevant discussion for anyone who wants to try random chatting online. On ChatSpin, for instance, you have the option to use both video and text chats – so which do you choose? The main differences between the two are pretty obvious, but not everyone knows about the pros and cons of each one. Lucky for you, you’re about to learn!
Pros of Video Chatting
You get to see each other’s body language.
Body language is a crucial part of understanding the person you’re talking to, whether they’re right in front of you or talking over a webcam connection. To illustrate: you tell someone that your favorite band is Nirvana, but you’re pretty sure your chat partner is more of a Prince person. But they surprise you by saying “Oh yeah, I listen to them sometimes”. But are they actually enthusiastic, or was that the only response they could think of that would let you down gently? Body language would help you figure out what they really meant.
It can facilitate long-term online relationships.
Some people genuinely connect with each other online, and if they can’t meet in person, video chats are a way for them to spend time with each other. Whether the relationship is romantic or not, it’s still possible to do all kinds of activities together – sharing meals (or cooking them), watching movies, playing games, and more. When they talk together, it can have the same flow as any other conversation. They can have the kind of talk that only happens late at night between close friends, or they can have a quick chat about the hilarious cat one of them just met. In other words, video chats are remarkably adaptable for online relationships.
Cons of Video Chatting
Some people are uncomfortable around cameras.
You know that one person in the group who always starts throwing stuff and laughing awkwardly when they realize they’re being filmed? Sometimes they just can’t get rid of that feeling – it doesn’t matter if they’re told about it beforehand, or even if they choose it themselves. If they hop onto a random chat site and simply try to strong-arm their way through some video chats, it’s likely that they won’t enjoy them that much. After all, it’s hard to like any interaction when something is preventing you from being the least bit relaxed.
If anonymity is a priority, showing your face could be an issue.
Random chat sites are used for all kinds of different purposes. Most of them focus on social interactions, but many also allow online dating, or sexual content and activities. Whatever you happen to do on a random chat site, it’s important to protect your personal information – and that includes your identity. Since a person’s face is (obviously) a key part of their identity, some people don’t want to reveal it on video chats. One solution is to wear a mask; certain chat sites even provide virtual masks for their users. Another solution, obviously, is to avoid using video chats entirely.
Pros of Text Chatting
It’s a good way to ease into random chatting.
The one-after-another aspect of random chats doesn’t really have an equivalent in the real world, and some people just aren’t ready to take that on at full throttle. Text chatting is a way to distance yourself a little from the people you’re talking with, so you don’t feel overwhelmed or invaded.
Text chats are preferred by people who are shy, or who want to preserve their anonymity.
If you aren’t comfortable chatting via webcam, text chats give you a way to participate in random chats – but on your own terms. You never have to worry about a virtual mask glitching, or that you’ll be screenshotted or recorded by another chatter. In general, chat sites will take precautions like concealing your last name and contact information from other users, but some people feel better if they go the extra mile.
Cons of Text Chatting
It’s more difficult to express what you feel, which limits the interaction.
Making online connections is more complicated when you’re text chatting, even if you’re both already good with words. Maybe one of you sends messages faster than the other, so it’s hard to establish a rhythm like you’d have in a face-to-face conversation. Perhaps your sense of humor is very dry, but the other person just thinks you’re being snarky. Maybe one of you uses emojis to lighten the mood, but it comes off as a bit lazy or trite. Whatever happens to be the case, it’s hard to get past a certain point in a relationship if your main mode of communication is text chatting.
Instead of noticing your face or smile, the other person picks up on stylistic errors and typos.
Text chatting leaves you with a crucial lack of information – what the other person looks like, especially when they talk. Are they earnest, with a deadpan sense of humor? Are they excitable and talkative with a funny laugh? You can get some of that over a text chat, but typos and badly worded phrases are going to stand out even more on a text chat. Mispronounced words are quickly forgotten on a video chat, and a clearly enthusiastic personality will cover a multitude of grammatical sins – not so with a text chat.
Which one would you choose?
Your preferred chat setting will depend on things like your personality, how good you happen to be with each one, and other factors. However, unless you already have a definite aversion to one or the other, you’d really have to try them both to decide which is best for you. Time to start chatting – have fun!