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Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships

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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13. A Cross-Contextual Examination of Technologically Mediated Communication and Social Presence in Long-Distance Relationships (Katheryn C. Maguire / Stacey L. Connaughton)

Extract

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

A Cross-Contextual Examination of Technologically Mediated Communication and Social Presence in Long-Distance Relationships

Katheryn C. Maguire

Stacey L. Connaughton

Distanced relationships (DRs), across several contexts, are an ever-increasing occurrence. Up to one million marriages and as many as one-third of college premarital relationships experience long-term separations annually (Aylor, 2003). Distanced relationships are also common in organizational realms that utilize distanced work arrangements (i.e., remote teams, telecommuters) (e.g., Connaughton & Shuffler, 2007; Gibbs, 2002; Rosenfeld, Richman, & May, 2004). Although researchers in both relational and organizational contexts argue that DRs are fundamentally different from proximal relationships (PRs) (e.g., Aylor, 2003; Bell & Kozlowski, 2002; Beranek & Martz, 2005), we argue that DRs and PRs are actually quite similar in that unit members in both situations must depend on one another to achieve relational and task goals. The difference, we suggest, lies in the preferred and/or available means of interaction. Whereas individuals in PRs engage in frequent face-to-face (FtF) contact, those in DRs rely on technologically mediated communication (TMC) to accomplish their goals.

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