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Transcript
Online Communication
Chapter 4
Relating Online
Online Communication
In this chapter, you will learn:

The theoretical perspectives on online relationships;

How limited nonverbal cues affect online interaction;

How identification with group norms helps build
acceptance;

How some people perceive online communication
as more rewarding than that in real life; and

Challenges with managing both professional and
intimate online relationships.
Online Communication
Three Perspectives

Impersonal

Interpersonal

Hyperpersonal
Walther, J. B. (1996). CMC: Impersonal, interpersonal, and hyperpersonal
interaction. Communication Research, 23 (1), 3-43.
Online Communication
The Impersonal Perspective
Some scholars note that the lack of nonverbal
cues in mediated channels limits the depths of
to which relationships can develop.
With these cues filtered out, social presence
theory suggests that we perceive our mediated
partners as less real to those we interact with
face-to-face.
Online Communication
The Impersonal Perspective
Sproull and Kiesler suggest that the nonverbal
cues people receive from others help them to
observe social norms.
Without these social context cues in
mediated channels, people can act in less
inhibited and less socially approved ways.
Online Communication
The Impersonal Perspective
Critics of the impersonal perspective point out
that Internet users try to compensate for a lack
of nonverbal cues by using various emoticons
to punctuate meaning.
They also argue that because there are limits on
the information available to partners, it may just
take longer for relationships to develop.
Online Communication
Emoticons

Verbalizing
<yawn>

Descriptions
*I knock*

Stress
PLEASE go!

Smileys
;-)
Online Communication
The Interpersonal Perspective
Scholars adopting an interpersonal perspective
suggest that we look beyond physicality in
order to understand how people relate to one
another.
One explanation for how people build
relationships in the absence of physical cues is
found in the SIDE model.
Online Communication
The Interpersonal Perspective
Social
Identification
Deindividuation
The SIDE model suggests that
interpersonal attraction and social
acceptance come from identification with
group norms.
Postumes, T., Spears, R., & Lea, M. (1998). Breaching or building social
boundaries? Side-effects of CMC. Communication Research, 25, 689-716.
Online Communication
The Hyperpersonal Perspective
Walther proposes that for some people,
communicating online allows them to find a
voice that they could not access in face-to-face
communication.
Four sources seem to contribute to the
perception of a hyperpersonal experience.
Online Communication
The Hyperpersonal Perspective




The sender has greater control
The receiver can overestimate qualities in
the sender
The channel, being synchronous or
asynchronous, affects interaction
Feedback can build an “intensification loop”
between the partners
Online Communication
Managing Online Relationships
Working relationships are increasingly conducted
through mediated channels. Users must be careful
that messages are not interpreted as hostile
flames.
People also look for romantic relationships online.
Partners should be mindful that the emotional
intimacy of a cyberaffair can be just as damaging
as the physical intimacy of a real life affair.
Online Communication
Flaming
Flaming is as much about a behavior as it is the
perception of a behavior.
According to the social influence model, we
learn how to flame and how to interpret what
messages are flames to us.
Online Communication
A Brief Review
1. According to the impersonal perspective, why do
people seem less real and more uninhibited online?
2. What two counterpoints are offered to the
impersonal perspective?
3. What processes are involved in the SIDE model?
4. How does each of the four components in the
hyperpersonal perspective contribute to the
experience?
5. What are two issues of concern with online
relationships?