Woah, I really think this depends on the different situations!
Rockchick26, do you know how many times I have written things on forums and nobody even replied? I initially felt very discriminated on certain forums... and one time when I asked why nobody was replying, I was just banned from a forum (I was 15) I was so upset that I first wrote a long e-mail and then phoned the administrator to say sorry and understand what had happened and he just cut the line and didn't even answer the second time.
How come when I say the same things in real life nobody discriminates me?!
There are also many things that I cannot see in the person I'm communicating with to understand their real tone, their honest reaction to what I say, everything.
I noticed that when I write something funny, it never has the same effect as when I say it out aloud and those around me hear it and react immediately.
I know there are many people for example who post cam-posts on youtube (they record themselves speaking out their ideas).
And what about TV reporters?
I think there's also an analogical difference. They are in front of a screen yet they are communicating with millions of people.
I have done some drama acting and I can tell you that there's a huge difference between seeing the reaction of your audience and being blinded by the stagelights. With too much light, you cannot see whether they are smiling and reacting to what we're doing or whether they're bored. When you see their reaction, you can counter-react in the appropriate way, instantaneously.
The advantage of communicating physically is that you always witness the first reaction of the people involved and you can also communicate the right tone much better than in written form.
We use smileys on the forum, but in my experience even smileys are often misinterpreted.
Like sometimes when I write, "Hi, I'm really happy that you solved your problem
" some people interpret that I'm arrogant and ironic - I mean, really
... what's wrong with this world :P