Caitlynn Mattson and Stacy Carter
Boise State University
As time goes on the presence of technology in our life grows, it is becoming something that is harder and harder to ignore. It has now become so apparent that when we are around other people, it is almost a guarantee that you will see someone on their phone or computer. Whether the person is checking and sending emails, texting a friend or loved one, or even just checking up on the latest news on social networks. The presence of this technology is everywhere you go. This type of communication is called computer-mediated communication, it is a form of communication that is unique to our generation, and it has almost become a way of life.
The history of computer-mediated communication is more than fifty years old and since the mid-1990s has rapidly gained a fast-growing popularity amongst society. Computer-mediated communication is defined as any communicative interaction that occurs through the use of one or more electronic devices. Computer mediated communication is also often referred to as CMC. While the term is usually referring to those communications via computer-mediated formats such as instant messaging, email, social networks, and chat rooms, it has also been applied to other forms such as text messaging on a mobile device (“Computer-mediated Communication”).
Research on computer-mediated communication focuses mainly on the social effects of different computer-mediated communication technologies. Many researchers have done studies on computer-mediated communications, a common study that is looked at is on how people use computers, digital media, and/or mobile devices to manage interpersonal interaction, make impressions and form and maintain relationships.
There are so many different ways in which a single person or even a group of people can communicate. The way people chose to communicate can depend on the setting they are in; it could be professional, social and/or educational. In this case, we are looking at the different ways CMC might be used in these environments. Often in these situations email, video, Skype, audio, texting, blogs, and instant messaging are most common. Most studies done involving CMC are done to see if CMC affects other methods of communications most commonly the method of face-to-face communication. CMC can give people a whole new identity. It gives those the confidence they might not have had other wise. This is most often seen with social networking sites. Not being face-to-face with a person gives you time to think about what exactly you can say and can also mask an introvert personality. CMC helps get rid of the judgments that can happen when face-to-face communication is going on (“Shyness”). It allows these people to be open and be who they want to be without having to be worried. However in some cases the strong use of CMC is causing people to be even more shy in real life situations, they cannot handle the pressure of a face-to-face conversation and interaction. There have even been scenarios where people have lied about every aspect of their lives even down to their name and gender. This of course is a negative and extreme aspect of CMC. Another disadvantage is the absence of social context cues, called the Cues Filtered Out Approach, is a major distinction that separates CMC from face-to-face communication (Walther & Burgoon, p.53). Because participants cannot see others facial expressions, gestures, voice inflections, appearance, or physical mannerisms; it is harder to interpret statements and responses they might make.
Studies have been done about how computer-mediated communication affected its users. With the rise of Internet usage and convenient accessibility more and more households are getting connected to the Internet. This particular study showed that the average Internet user spent 2.73 hours per day online (Wrench &