Look, I know it isn’t easy out there for dudes, either. (Isn’t it? I think it actually could be. Easier, anyway. Less horrifying.) For some reason it seems like standard operating procedure, among those with opposite-sex interests, that GUYS message GIRLS and that is that. I think this is on the way out, but it’s lingering. So guys have some pressure—they’re the ones who have to “make a move” and then just wait while my friends and I gasp and laugh and email each other the complete garbage they’ve just sent us.
Does the internet allow us to rewrite social scripts, or does it merely amplify existing ones?
I like talking about myself as much as (and probably more than) the next person, OBVIOUSLY. It is my hope that by continually doing what I love to do, which is talking about myself, someone perfect will eventually just fall in love with me. So I understand the impulse to lead with yourself. But some part of me—the part that is familiar with social interactions and general guidelines of human conduct—recognizes that this is neither the most practical nor the most thoughtful way to get to know a person. Some part of me knows that what you are supposed to do when you want to get to know someone is ask him/her questions about him/herself, and not just because you hope you can then turn the conversation back around to you.
One of the most important skills you can have as a human being is how to have a good conversation with another human being. This is a skill that I want to work on. What the passage above reveals for me is that the heart of becoming a better conversationalist is learning to ask better questions. This, of course, involves learning to listen better. The internet allows us to communicate more with more people, but it doesn’t improve our ability to listen. It actually harms our ability to listen by removing senses (human-to-human communication can involve all the senses), by degrading the quality of information transmission and by providing abundant distractions. In these ways, the internet actually harms conversation.
Katie Heaney, "How Not to Write an Online Dating Message"