Virtual Communication – Concept, characteristics and examples

We explain what virtual communication is and some examples. Its classification, main characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.

Virtual Communication - email
Virtual communication does not require physical proximity between senders and receivers.

What is virtual communication?

Virtual communication is a type of communication emerged from the technological advances of the late twentieth century. It consists of the use of digital tools that serve as a channel for sending a message.

The term virtual refers to the absence of material support to send a message such as, for example, a letter. It can also refer to the lack of physical proximity between senders and receivers.

Examples of virtual communication

Virtual Communication - Wikipedia
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that users themselves make and correct.

There are several ways to establish virtual communications. Here are some examples:

  • Email. It involves sending and receiving messages through a computer network. It has a logic very similar to that of traditional mail, with the advantage that it is immediate, often free and simultaneous. In other words, the same message can be sent to several people at the same time.
  • Wikis. These are those platforms in which your content is made collaboratively as a result of teamwork. The most common example is Wikipedia, an encyclopedia that users themselves make and correct, so that it can be consulted by any navigator.
  • Blogs. It is another very common example within virtual communications. Here, its founder expresses content and its readers can use it and comment on it. The key to a blog is that the information responds to the interests of its creator and is periodically updated.

Types of virtual communication

Virtual Communication - videoconference
A videoconference allows communication with people in different places.

Within virtual communication there is a phenomenon that has to do with the formation of virtual communities. Among them, different types can be identified, such as:

  • Discussion forums. They are open spaces for the discussion of specific topics, with the purpose that groups of common interests interact by exchanging ideas, theories and opinions.
  • Social networks. They are structures formed on the Internet by people or organizations that connect based on common interests or values. Through them, relationships between individuals or companies are created quickly, without hierarchy or physical limits.
  • Videoconferences. They are communications that are established through a video, in a bidirectional and simultaneous way. They are widely used tools to hold meetings between people who are in different places.
  • BBS. BulletinBoardSystemIt is a software that was used to establish networks between computers. In this way, users could access information that was dumped by the members of that network.

Characteristics of virtual communication

Virtual communication - blog
Virtual communication promotes the democratization of information.

Virtual communication and the communities that are formed around them are characterized by the following features:

  • Links are established synchronously and acronymically. This means that it can be a real-time or deferred communication.
  • It allows you to establish links with people of the most varied origins but who have a common interest.
  • The exchange of data and information can include the most varied formats: text, video, image, sound, photography, etc.
  • The exchange of data and information can be bidirectional or multidirectional, depending on the cases.
  • The relationships between the members of the virtual community tend towards horizontality.
  • Team and collaborative work occurs (and is encouraged).
  • Its costs are very low.
  • It facilitates learning and promotes the democratization of information.
  • Encourage the active attitude of the actors.

Advantages and disadvantages of virtual communication

Virtual communication - social networks
Thanks to virtual communication, face-to-face links are lost.

There are pros and cons around virtual communication and everything that is generated around it. That is why, below, a list is formulated with advantages and disadvantages to take into account:

  • Advantage:
    • It allows people to meet and bond with each other who have the same concerns and interests, beyond physical distances.
    • It facilitates access to information related to the most varied topics.
    • It encourages study, links, exchanges, collaborative work and even the purchase and sale of goods and services.
    • It allows access not only to information on the most varied topics, but also to the most diverse points of view on those topics. Break away from biases.
    • Facilitates and encourages feedback as well as updating content.
    • Leave aside the barriers that have to do not only with time and space, but also those linked to social origin, gender, religion, age.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Face-to-face ties are lost.
    • Anonymity generates impunity, which is why virtual communities often lend themselves to violence.
    • Overexposure is generated so, many times, privacy is reduced to the minimum expression.
    • There are cases in which private information of third parties is disseminated or privacy is violated to the point that crimes are registered.
    • You can impersonate third parties for defamation.