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Computer-Mediated Communication. What is CMC? Broadly, Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) can be defined as any form of data exchange across two or.

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Presentation on theme: "Computer-Mediated Communication. What is CMC? Broadly, Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) can be defined as any form of data exchange across two or."— Presentation transcript:

1 Computer-Mediated Communication

2 What is CMC? Broadly, Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) can be defined as any form of data exchange across two or more networked computers. Narrowly, it refers to human to human communication via computerized technologies (e.g., IM, ICQ, video conference, etc.). It is often pitched against what’s known as Face-to-face (FfF) communication.

3 CMC vs. HCI In many ways, the difference between CMC and HCI are not fundamental differences. But they focus on different characteristics of new media technologies. HCI focuses on characteristics of the technology and individual user’s psychological processes. ◦ Interactivity ◦ Presence ◦ Cognition

4 CMC vs. HCI CMC focuses on characteristics of the communicative environment and user interactions ◦ Anonymity (being anonymous) ◦ Synchronicity (real-time vs. delayed conversation) ◦ Relationship development ◦ Impression formation

5 Computer-Mediated Communication The ability of engaging in anonymous communication is believed to be a very important feature of CMC. Different levels of anonymity ◦ True anonymity ◦ Visual anonymity ◦ Perceived anonymity

6 Computer-Mediated Communication Earlier research suggest that anonymity would lead to impersonal (depersonalized) communication ◦ Anonymity and distance lead to a decrease in self-awareness ◦ Decrease in self-awareness lead to deindividualtion

7 Computer-Mediated Communication What is self-awareness? ◦ at any given moment, an individual’s attention can be directed either outward to the external environment toward things such as tasks, other people, or the social context, or directed inward to various aspects of the self (Duval & Wicklund, 1972). ◦ The different features of the self can be categorized into two major parts (Fenigstein, Scheier, & Buss, 1975):  The public self  physical appearance, table manners, and accent.  the private self  personal beliefs, hidden inner feelings, thoughts, and memories that are covert to others including religious beliefs and childhood memories

8 Computer-Mediated Communication Public Self-awareness ◦ Attention is directed towards to the public aspects of the self ◦ Public self-awareness has consistently been found to cause conformity towards perceived majority opinions (Duval & Wicklund, 1972; Froming, Walker, & Lopyan, 1982; Scheier & Carver, 1980; Wicklund & Duval, 1971) ◦ It can be heightened by the presence of film or video cameras

9 Computer-Mediated Communication Private Self-awareness ◦ Attention is directed towards to those private aspects of the self ◦ has been shown to cause individuals to be more aware of, and more responsive to, their emotions (Scheier, 1976; Scheier & Carver, 1977), and engage in more self-disclosure (Joinson, 2001).. ◦ It can be heightened by the presence of a small mirror & self-portrait.

10 Computer-Mediated Communication Theoretically, Many explanations of both pro- and anti- social behaviors in computer-mediated communication (CMC) appear to hinge on changes in individual self- awareness. Empirically, very few studies directly tested the effect of self-awareness on common outcomes of CMC research. ◦ although self-awareness has been found to impact self-disclosure & persuasion in CMC (Joinson, 2001; Matheson & Zanna, 1988; 1989), Three dominant perspectives on CMC: ◦ Deindividuation ◦ Social Identity Explanations of Deindividuation (SIDE) ◦ Hyperpersonal

11 Deindividuation Effects in CMC “computer-mediated communication seems to comprise some of the same conditions that are important for deindividuation— anonymity, reduced self-regulation, and reduced self-awareness” (Kiesler, Siegel, & McGuire, 1984, p. 1126). the reduction of social cues in CMC can decrease users’ overall self-awareness, leading to a state of deindividuation, thereby fostering interactions that are more task- oriented, impersonal, and in some cases even uninhibited and anti-normative.

12 Deindividuation Effects in CMC Visual anonymity allows us to communicate with each other without worrying about many other social information (social identities) ◦ Appearance ◦ Skin color ◦ Gender ◦ Age As a consequence, we tend to ◦ Communicate more honestly with less bias ◦ Communicate more freely with less social constraints ◦ Focus on the tasks rather than the socio-emotional aspects of the conversation.

13 Deindividuation Effects in CMC Deindividuation is good for decision making and corporate environment ◦ Less influenced by power structure ◦ Speak more freely and thus encourages creativity ◦ Focusing on tasks and not bothered by social formality Deindividuation is bad for social environment ◦ Difficult to be personal ◦ Conversation may become direct and cold (impersonal)

14 SIDE effects in CMC The visually anonymous environment of CMC heightens one’s sensitivity to group and social identities ◦ You try to guess what other’s group identity is by looking for non-verbal clues ◦ You start to act according to your guesses how an individual acts in CMC depends on the salience of the individual’s group identity and the norms of the group in which the individual is communicating

15 SIDE effects in CMC According to this perspective, deindividuation may not always be impersonal. ◦ Just because a conversation is visually anonymous, it doesn’t mean that we don’t engage in self-regulation and monitoring ◦ What is important is which social identity is salient at the moment

16 Hyperpersonal Communication in CMC visual anonymity of CMC enables users to mask physical or behavioral cues that are undesirable, and selectively self-disclose more favorable information. Thus, communication in CMC, due to anonymity, allow a person to strategically create an “ideal self” to present to the other person.

17 Hyperpersonal Communication in CMC This allows communicators to carefully think about what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. It also allows individuals to use their imagination to “idealize” the person whom they are talking to. Thus, leading to intense social relationships beyond normal level (hyper- personal).

18 CMC (summary) Compare to FtF, CMC allows communicators to be more strategic. It may lead to impersonal communication, or hyperpersonal communication, although this may seem contradicting. People tend to form impressions about each other based on group cues, and imagination.

19 CMC (summary) However… CMC is becoming more sophisticated ◦ Video ◦ Audio ◦ Profile ◦ Text Previous research seems to be a bit outdated

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