Exploring the Impact of Computer-mediated Communication on Interpersonal Relationships: A Tentative Model Using Characteristics and Behavioural Outcomes Jean-Paul Van Belle Jean-Paul.VanBelle@uct.ac.za Nicholas Hall Eloise Riekert Nixon Muganda SACLA 2008
Overview • Research Problem • Prior Research & Model • Research Methodology • Data Analysis & Discussion • Conclusion & Future Research • Questions
Why this Study? • Society’s changing communication requirements encourage advancement of communications technologies • As technologies become pervasive, there is a “modeling of the Social in the Technical” (Gibson, 2004, p.189). • Unintended consequences of communications technologies are the norm (social networks, e-commerce, e-business, and even negatives) • How do these communications technologies impact society? Are these linked to the characteristics of the technology? What is the outcome?
Communications Research: • Emphasis on Characteristics (C) of Communications Technologies and that • i.e., there are certain behavioral outcomes (O) linked to Communication Technologies • This research addresses how social interactions, or more specifically interpersonal relationships, are affected by changing communication technologies. • No consensus on CMC interaction patterns in LR • Need to accumulate experiences, thus context of RSA. • C and O have positive/negative relationships and impact on Interpersonal Relationships (This study).
Definition of CMC • CMC is defined by Kim (2002) is any communication that is mediated by a computer which occurs on an interpersonal or group level but excludes mass communication. • In the context of communication models used in the study, the ‘communication channel’ or medium is provided by Internet- or mobile phone based communication technologies, for example IM, text messaging or email. In addition both the message ‘source’ and ‘destination’, otherwise known as ‘participants’, are human.
Research Method • Qualitative approach because of exploratory nature and difficulty in measuring (or defining) many variables • 6 individual unstructured interviews (M & F aged 18-72) • 2 pair-based semi-structured discussion groups • 8 females (aged 19-45) • 7 students • Theme analysis
ANALYSIS: • Selected a few themes for the presentation. • Outcomes: Invasion of Privacy (O.IP) and Deviant Behavior (O.DB) • Characteristics: Always On (C.AO); Etiquette (C.E); Anonymity (C.A).
Language Usage and Dissociative Interaction • “I feel very threatened by having a cut down language which doesn’t contain longer words that express more complicated emotions, with more nuances and subtleties. I think that it is a way to trap yourself inside your mind with out the ability to express what is really going on, because the borders of your language are the borders of your world.” (P4). • It was found that when tested, the proposed model as initially constructed failed to account for ‘Dissociative Interaction’ which was prominent in the data. This construct was found to be independent on the characteristic of ‘Anonymity’ and was found to impact ‘Language Usage’ and have a positive influence on ‘Deviant Behaviour’.
Suggestions for Future Research • Language Usage-Phenomenon of CMC is still 1st Economy. It would be inspiring to know about the excluded 2nd economy (which is 3rd World). • Risk Free Experimentation-Generation ‘Y’ know when there is a paedophile online? Or porn? • Political Suggestion: For SACLA, How to Entrench IS thinking in our IS and CS, because CMC is about social interactions and our generation ‘Y’ students know it.
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Questions? “He who asks a silly question may be a fool for 5 minutes. He who does not ask questions will remain a fool for the rest of his life” Chinese Proverb? Jean-Paul.VanBelle@uct.ac.za