It finally hit me (slow on the uptake sometimes, this guy) that the difficulty with the written word conveying "information" to strangers is that the stranger, that is audience/reader, is missing a key component of how we assess the "message" and the "messenger:" facial signals.
I know from too many experiences that "tone" is laid upon words that is absent from an author's intention. We are always cautioned in corporate communications to be as flat and factual as possible because people "misread" what is sent to them.
Further, without this non-verbal signal we must fall back on "orientational" perspective...who is sending the message, how am I "related" to them, economically, politically, organizationally, familiarly, etc., and also, who am I (to myself) and to the sender. What is our STATUS as sender and receiver?
In Fitzgerald's Gatsby our narrator (Nick Carraway) makes special note of how Gatsby "wins" his retinue--with his smile. The content of Gatsby's "truth" is irrelevant as the smile is a promise.
It is why we somewhat mistrust Nick--his tone is in question as well as his "position" in the organization of the human and social elements.
I might leap to the assumption that television talking heads are the best liars on the planet as their faces must project a particular story EVEN as the content offers a different perspective. (It's also why their personal tweets and blogs are so revealing--they don't mask that content very well.)
If we inculcate a kind of "apathetic" tone in our instructional institutions--learning "analysis" and the clinical mechanics of linguistic structures...where will we "learn" our proper tonalities?
How will we "hear" well enough to interpret the audio version of the facial reveal?