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Computer-Mediated Communication


Title: A Self-awareness Approach to Computer-Mediated Communication Author: Mike Yao Last modified by: lvnguyen Created Date: 5/26/2004 5:10:03 PM – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Computer-Mediated Communication

Computer-Mediated Communication
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 whats known as
    Face-to-face (FfF) communication.

  • In many ways, the difference between CMC and HCI
    are not fundamental differences. But they focus
    on different characteristics of new media
  • HCI focuses on characteristics of the technology
    and individual users psychological processes.
  • Interactivity
  • Presence
  • Cognition

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

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

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

Computer-Mediated Communication
  • What is self-awareness?
  • at any given moment, an individuals 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,
  • 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

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

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.

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
  • Hyperpersonal

Deindividuation Effects in CMC
  • computer-mediated communication seems to
    comprise some of the same conditions that are
    important for deindividuationanonymity, 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.

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
  • Focus on the tasks rather than the
    socio-emotional aspects of the conversation.

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
  • Deindividuation is bad for social environment
  • Difficult to be personal
  • Conversation may become direct and cold

SIDE effects in CMC
  • The visually anonymous environment of CMC
    heightens ones sensitivity to group and social
  • You try to guess what others 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 individuals group identity and
    the norms of the group in which the individual is

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

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
  • Thus, communication in CMC, due to anonymity,
    allow a person to strategically create an ideal
    self to present to the other person.

Hyperpersonal Communication in CMC
  • This allows communicators to carefully think
    about what to say, how to say it, and when to say
  • 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).

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.

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