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Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships

Edited By Kevin B. Wright and Lynne M. Webb

This is the first collection of readings on computer-mediated communication focusing exclusively on interpersonal interactions. Examining messages exchanged via email, Twitter, Facebook, websites, and blogs, the authors analyze communication issues of ongoing importance in relationships including deception, disclosure, identity, influence, perception, privacy, sexual fidelity, and social support. The book examines subjects that attract intense student interest – including online performance of gender, online dating, and using computer-mediated communication to achieve family/work life balance – and will inspire further research and course development in the area of computer-mediated communication in personal relationships. Because it provides a synthesis of ideas at the nexus of interpersonal communication theory and computer-mediated communication theory, the book can serve as a textbook for advanced undergraduate as well as graduate courses.
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5. Communication Competence and Apprehension during CMC in Online and Face-to-face Relationships (W. Scott Sanders / Patricia Amason)

Extract

CHAPTER FIVE

Communication Competence and Apprehension during CMC in Online and Face-to-Face Relationships

W. Scott Sanders

Patricia Amason

Communication using mediated channels is a common and permanent fixture in the lives of many Americans. Internet usage in the United States alone increased by 32% from an average of 53 million adult users per day to over 70 million (Pew Internet and American Life Project [PIALP] 2005). Based on the results of the PIALP it is estimated that 63% of adult Americans, or 128 million people, use the Internet allowing for communication among users through applications such as email, instant messaging, and social networking sites. IM was identified as the most highly selected medium for communicating among teens (Lenhart, Madden, & Hitlin, 2005) and email is the single most popular Internet activity with more time devoted to email than to any other single activity online (PIALP). More importantly, surpassing the telephone, the internet has become the most popular mediated channel for relational management (Baym, Zhang, & Lin, 2004). The PIALP study first conducted in 2000 demonstrated that Internet communication was linked to greater frequency of interaction among friends. Moreover, the results of the PIALP study the following year (2001) showed that IM often is used as a means of initiating dating relationships as well as in their dissolution (see also Lenhart, Madden, & Hitlin, 2005). Moreover, persons use computer-mediated communication (CMC) channels in the day-to-day maintenance of existing relationships (Rabby & Walther, 2003)...

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