We’ve known for a long time that it’s harder to convey the full range of meaning online, due to the impossibility of viewing body language. A new study digs deeper into the problem.
Put simply, they examined the ways people communicate via animated avatars. The money quote:
The researchers found that the best performance was obtained when both avatars were able to move according to the motions of their owner. Specifically, they found that, in addition to the body language of the speaker being important, the body language of the listener impacted success at the task, providing evidence of the need for nonverbal feedback from listening partners in successful communication
So there it is. It doesn’t matter how you communicate, feedback is always a crucial element.