Friday, March 2, 2012

Making Friends

Dear Mr. Malcom R. Parks,

I don't think there is anything else in the world that can connect 30-40 million people besides the Internet, and that's why I can understand your curiosity to examine the relational world actually being created through Internet discussion groups. It's so hard for me to choose between your two options of whether online relations are shallow, personal, and hostile versus being liberated, genuine, personal, and found. It wasn't a surprise to find that people in CMC groups engaged more in verbal aggression, blunt disclosure, and nonconforming behavior because CMC has the anonymity feature which forms a shield against what anybody says, so it allows people more leeway to say what is on their mind. I never saw time being the key element in computer-mediated communication until I read your article because “people need to manage uncertainty and develop rapport, they will adapt the textual cues to meet their needs when faced with a channel that does not carry visual and aural cues.” CMC also allows us to socialize, maintain relationships, play games, and receive emotional support through different channels of communication past distances and time. And people organize social events through CMC to meet in F-t-F. But CMC is judged to have a narrower bandwidth and less information richness than FtF communication. In F-T-F group work, you can physically observe those teammates who aren't really contributing or paying attention, or you can tell by someone's voice tone if they seem annoyed or disinterested. Sometimes I get confused or offended just even through my text messages or e-mails, when friends just end a text with a period or when they give one-worded answers, you question yourself whether they are mad or annoyed because that is what is perceived, but there are so many ways you can interpret a text message. But in the end, “both theories predict that participants' awareness of and sensitivity to others will be related to the number of channels or codes available for linking them.”



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