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Computer Mediated Communication Topic: people use communications technology creatively to increase the sense of social presence and strength its relationships 1. Introduction: Social presence is the degree to which individuals perceive another as a real person and any interaction between the two individual or groups as social relationship (Wood and Smith, 2005). Social relationship also represents connection, cooperation, and mutual dependence and belonging between people. The importance of social relationship is helped to create better understandings by enhancing human interaction through communication in order to improve the quality of life. Communication plays a key role in improving social interaction. ComputerMediated Communication (CMC) is the process of human communication via computers to exchange information and messages. Moreover, communication technology is the design of equipment to process transformation of message between senders and receivers via internet and multimedia (Wikipedia, 2001). People use communication technologies to enhance and increase communication opportunities with different countries, to express self- identity through online blogging and share life experiences…etc. The development of communication technology has increased the speed of exchanging communication to enhance the social relationship. The aim of this report is to discuss the current researches and views on how communication technologies impact on increase the level of social presence and social relationship. It will be explained more details in several views in culture, selfexpression, work experiences in order to identify how communication improve social relationship and life. 2. Social presence and social relationship Social presence is defined a communicator’s sense of awareness of the existence of an interaction partner in a mediated communication. This is important for the process by which people come to know and think about other persons, their characteristics, qualities and inner states (Short et al., 1976). Moreover, the concepts of “immediacy (Weinerand Mehrabian, 1968) and 'intimacy' (Argyle and Dean, 1965) are related to social presence. Immediacy identifies as psychological distance and behaviour by nonverbal interaction to others, such as smiling (Weinerand Mehrabian, 1968). Intimacy is expressed by verbal and non-verbal behaviour in explaining interpersonal interaction and is subconsciously maintained in equilibrium at an appropriate level by the interactors (Argyle and Dean, 1965). As a result, immediacy behaviours are used to create and maintain intimacy; immediacy behaviours also enhance social presence (Short et al., 1976).

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Social relationship is the development of social presence to show the connection between two individuals and groups (Wikipedia, 2001). The need for connection is recognised in psychological level in interpersonal interaction to determine success in life and mental health (Adler & Brett, 1998). Communication is an important bridge in connecting and improving social relationship. It is the process of information transmission and it represents as a social interaction between two agents by sharing a common set of signs/ symbols and common languages (Wikipedia,2001). Therefore, communication creates a sense of connectedness or feeling of being in touch for social presence. As the increasing development of communication technologies, it creates a new type of (virtual) social relationship which is different from previous face to face communication. For face to face communication, the sense of social presence is guaranteed to get an immediate response. On the other hand, through the communication technology that sender may or may not get a response from the receivers through the mediated communication. However, the communication technologies increase connection methods for people to communication which lead to increase sense of social presence to promote social relationship. Thus, the increased presence leads to a better person perception (social relationship). 3. Communication technology Communication technology is the channel to transfer information and messages from senders to receivers through public and private access (Wikipedia, 2001). Communication technologies are commonly viewed as internet (WWW), multimedia (advertising, broadcasting), BBS, e-mail. In addition, there are new channels for communication technology, such as instant messengers (MSN, Yahoo, and SKYPE) and online blogging (Xanga, Facebook) to provide more immediate communication and express self- feeling. The more instant communication and interaction between people provide greater sense of social presence, for example, video conferencing. It presents direct feedback and response to increase sense of social presence and improve social relationship as intimacy behaviour. Yet, the immediacy action is more described with e-mail and BBS where the actual action and response is not directly expressed; and it may lower the social presence. The increasing uses of new communication technologies create more opportunities in connection and communication. People have more ways and chances to express themselves and interact with each other. Overall, the social presence has increased and strength its social relationship. 4. The impact of CMC and social relationship

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4.1 Culture aspect 41.1 Internet The use of communication technology has created connection in social relationship for culture development as a global community. The growth of the internet as an international communication medium raises new issues and challenges for the standardization or adaptation of international marketing communication. Moreover, it is globally accessible and capable of mass communication (Singh & Baack, 2004). The study of website design represents different cultural values in understanding and connecting social relationship. Cultural values have a significant effect on communication in influencing how we interact and socialize with other members of society. Moreover, cultural values represent the society’s core beliefs which influences on communication pattern (Singh & Baack, 2004). The design of website is not a strong sense of social presence as there is weak interaction between people as it has no immediate connect between people. However, the different designs and patterns lead to increase understating cultural differences and connect to social relationship. The four dimensions of cultural categories by Hofstede’s typology are collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance and masculinity (appendix 1). Moreover, the functions of the website (community relationships, customers services, information…etc) which has clearly introduced the details of cross culture and regional differences applied to Web communication. It provides the internet users with sense of awareness how the cultural differences through website appearance (colour, pictures and outlooks), such as white represent death in China and Taiwan, yet it means good luck and fortune for Japan. Through these different dimensions in designing websites show the cultural differences and provide people with great understanding of the cultures in order to enhance social relationships. 4.1.2 Blogging In addition, the case of Polish culture and social relationship are well connected and improved through CMC. Blogging has received media attention to publish Polish popular culture, the voice and the views of everyday people (Trammell, Tarkowski &Snapp, 2006). It increases the sense of presence which people have immediate responds and comments on the blogs. Moreover, it is an anonymous action which increases willingness for people to express ideas and information. As internet is a mass medium which fulfils interpersonal needs, information and social needs (Trammell, Tarkowski &Snapp, 2006). Besides, internet facilitates cross -culture communication in common languages and shows social and collaborative aspect of communication (Warschauer, 1998). Moreover, through online blogging, the culture is

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well introduced and easy access thorough interpersonal views. CMC has developed new ways to expand cultural differences by joining people together as a global village. It shortens the distance between people by connecting and accessing to each other easily and strength social relationship by interacting and understanding different cultures. 4.2 Self expression aspect 4.2.1 Online Blogging The increasing uses of online blogs has inspirited with self-expression and realised self- identity. It creates high level of social relationship in connecting with others by exchanging their thought and feeling. Blogs are online journals where the content is arranged in reversed chronological order (Trammell, Tarkowski &Snapp, 2006). A typical blogs combines text, image, link and the ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format (Wikipedia, 2001). Moreover, online blogging is the channel for people to communicate exchange and express their inner self. Identity is defined in term of one’s interpersonal characteristics, such as selfdefinition or personal traits, the roles and relationships one takes on in various interactions, and one’s personal values or moral beliefs. It also involves a sense of continuity of self image over time (Huffaker &Calvert, 2005). In addition, language has always played an important role in the formation and expression of identity (Warschauer& Hansen, 2003). Self identity is expressed by the use of languages to demonstrate one’s emotion, thought and ideas. Therefore, the uses of languages and emotional icons are represented the communication and relationship with others which are different from face to face communication. For example, at the traditional communication, a smile action can simply express good feeling to each other. Yet, online blogging, the emotional icons are important to show responses to others, such as . The receiver will know immediately that a smile or a good feeling is communicated. However, in the real communication, the interpersonal interaction is immediately, people may use nonverbal languages (smile) to cover their true feeling. Oppositely, in CMC environment, the invisible identity releases one’s true self by having a thought to click the emotional icon to show their expression. As a result, the language is represented as a degree of interactive engagement to affect social relationship and self-identity; and the emotional icons can affect the interpretation of messages Online blogs increases the sense of social presence. The functions of comment and feedback are set in blogs to create interpersonal interaction. Furthermore, the

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online blogging is an anonymous action with public access. The online blogs do not require ID application and other features, such as personal details can be both online and offline identity (Huffaker& Calvert, 2005). The invisible communication reveals one’s true identity and inspires expression of feeling to be post online. From my own experience, I have online blogs to express my feeling and thoughts which is accessible to public. For my friends, they can know my current situation and feeling without communicating to me. For others, they can get understanding of me from the diaries or articles, and also leave an imagination to them who I am. Moreover, by joining in groups through online blogs shows the connection between others by sharing ideas, interests and experiences, such as Xanga and Facebook. As a result, it proves more chances to connect with people to build up social relationship. 4.3 Working Environment aspect 4.3.1 Internet CMC has affected interaction of coworkers in the workplace and the responsibility of technical communicators to ensure positive interactions with coworkers (Dutton,2007). The company websites as a relatively new medium of organisation communication in focusing on content efficacy; image management; service to the public audience and cross- cultural comparisons (Yong and Foot’s, 2005). From Yong and Foot’s (2005) study, the job search websites show a social connection between bosses and employees. The website provides clear information on details of company, benefits, workplace culture in order to develop positive image to attract employees (Yong and Foot’s, 2005). People will choose the best descriptions of jobs which reflect self-image and identity to work for. It shows the sense of social presence in connecting people between work and themselves through internet. 4.3.2 E-mail Due to the time delay of receiving and responding, it is viewed as a weak social presence as perception interaction as “real person” However, e-mail has started to take replacement of the physical distribution of document which substantially accelerates the communication of information within organization (Dutton, 2007). Therefore, the uses email of work related topics is improving in speed of communication and information flow. The uses of formal language are important in work environment to improve and enhance relationship between organisation and society. E-mail represents as a written message in communication problems and questions on works related topics. The formal language and writing are used to show the respect of others in order to

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improve better relationship and make clear connection and statement with co-works. 4.3.3 Video Conferencing Video conferencing has increase social presences as immediate action and response are taken simultaneously. It provides similar condition as face to face environment for people to communicate. Moreover, it is more convenient for employees to discuss with business partners around the world. It increases the communication opportunities to avoid misunderstanding is occurred and improve the relationship through cooperation. 4.4 Education aspect CMC are often used in educational purpose to increase the level of communication with other students, especially learning a second language. CMC promotes self-discipline and requires students to take more responsibility for their own learning. Using CMC, instructors can vary a course's instructional design to include everything from structured projects to open projects in which students are free to work on (Berge&Collins,1995). The online task will increase the level of cooperation and build up relationships while problem solving. 4.4.1 Online virtual learning environment Online virtual learning environment is combination of virtual learning room with real one in network education. This designed software is to help teachers by facilitating the management of educational courses and course administration for both teachers and students. Moreover, it provides learning progress which can be monitored by both teachers and learners (Wikipedia, 2001). Virtual environments allow user control, a component of self efficacy via symbolic interactions (Calvert, 2007). Moreover, role playing is an important symbolic characteristic of oneself for performing a behavior, is integrated into virtual reality simulations through interaction. In addition, experienced virtual reality users appear to take control of these environments and perceive more self-efficacy than inexperienced, novice users (Calvert, 2007). Virtual learning environment has higher sense of social presence in communicating and interacting with each others. The higher interaction and monitor of users progress of learning which facilitate communication and strength relationships by cooperation to solve difficulties at the virtual rooms. It is important to realize and appreciate not only that communication is vital for enhancing social presence but also that social presence has a strong impact on learner satisfaction in an online learning environment(Berge&Collins,1995).


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4.4.2 Video conferencing Video conferencing creates higher level of social presence are more satisfied with online learning as applied to distance learning. For example, I had involved in Melbourne University’s Japanese course with video conferencing to communicate students from the sister university in Japan. The higher level of social presence through asking and response creates well interaction with languages exchange. The regular meeting with Japanese students is not only improving the language skills, but also creates relationships between both of us. 4.5 Instant messenger Instant Messenger (IM) is a form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text. The text is conveyed via computers connected over a network such as the Internet (Wikipedia, 2001). Moreover, it has high level of social presence than email for people to connect or message each other, even when the users are offline. IM allows users to have different statuses (online or away) to show their availabilities, busy or away from the computers to notify others. Some systems allow sending offline messages when the users are current logged off. In addition, the automatically reply is another function for users to set when they are away from the computers. Instant messengers provide efficiency to communicate between a numbers of people simultaneously. The functions of IM as using webcam or direct talking have increased connection and communication to create better social relationship. However, it has no forced for users to reply the messages. Instant Messengers create new social languages in communicating to improve social relationship. The new languages (internet language/screen language), such as “brb” represents” be right back”, are used to shorten the communication process to understand the messages more quickly and easily. People have create more easy communication techniques in connect to each others and shorten the interpersonal distance. 5. Concern There are some different views in using the communication technologies in real social relationship at face to face communication. Some believe that the lack of social cues and face-to-face interaction increases the sense of isolation for persons using this medium to teach and learn. They point out that CMC may interfere with face-to-face relationships or be addictive (Rieger,2007). To illustrate that using email is benefited to increase information flow in communication speed. Email can operate much like body language or facial

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expressions. However, it influences the spoken communication (Dutton, 2007). In addition, the screen languages are created to communication due to the development of CMC. However, it reduces the uses of correct grammar and formal written style in real communication. Brown and Duguid claims that “the technologies are usually a complement to, not a replacement for, face-to-face meetings of such a community”. 6. Conclusion The development of communication technologies has impact on increasing the level of social presence and strength the relationship. Using the CMC has created better connection in communication to increase social presence via computers. Moreover, it shortens the communication distances around the world to improve better relationship in work, education and culture aspect. In addition, online blogging also helps people to communicate and connect with others in releasing their true self and feeling. However, the increasing uses of communication technologies have also post a concern to people in face to face communication. Some people argue that rely on CMC will reduce the communication skills in real life communication. In conclusion, the use of communication technologies has benefited social presence and builds up better social relationship. The balance of using CMC as a complement and face to face communication is needed in order to build up stronger and better social life.


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Computer-mediated communication (CMC) tools, include both distance- spanning and time-synchronous systems, like teleconferencing, and distance- spanning and time-bridging asynchronous systems, like electronic mail (E-mail). Conclusion: 500 As the authors in this volume discuss the various methods, it becomes clear that there are many benefits to using CMC, but there are also some limitations that must be recognized. As the reader moves through these chapters, it will become apparent that one of the greatest benefits of CMC is its ability to liberate instruction from the constraints of time and distance. The convenience of access from home, school, or office permits many students and instructors to better meet travel, job, and family responsibilities. Educators and trainers, especially those involved in distance learning, have been searching for the "Holy Grail" of instruction for a long time--to be able to teach and have students learn anything, anytime, anywhere. To a large degree, CMC now can fulfill two-thirds of this desire. CMC promotes self-discipline and requires students to take more responsibility for their own learning. Using CMC, instructors can vary a course's instructional design to include everything from structured projects to open projects in which students are free to work on "messy"--but authentic--problem solving. On the other hand, because students must manage their own learning, this newfound independence may be a hindrance to those students who need more structure. No one can deny that we have entered an information age in which power comes to those who have information and know how to access it. If we consider which factors of CMC will be most important to education in the information age, it seems that our goals should be to develop self-motivated learners and help people learn to find and share information. If designed well, CMC applications can be used effectively to facilitate collaboration among students as peers, teachers as learners and facilitators, and guests or experts from outside the classroom.

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One of the more important aspects of CMC use in instruction is that it is text-based. Facility in writing is essential across the entire curriculum, and with the present technology one cannot communicate on a computer network without writing. Just as important, if used effectively, CMC encourages and motivates students to become involved in authentic projects and to write for a real audience of their peers or persons in the larger world community, instead of merely composing assignments for the teacher. At the same time, we must recognize that not all students can express themselves well in writing, and, even for those who can, the act of writing and using online text-based applications can be a time-consuming struggle. In this regard, there is an emerging body of literature, added to by several authors in this volume, who speak from their own experiences concerning the empowerment of persons with disabilities, physical impairment, disfigurement, or speech impediments, which hinder their equal participation in face-to-face encounters. CMC promotes an equalization of users. Because CMC is, at present, primarily text-only, the consequent reduction in social cues leads to a protective ignorance surrounding a person's social roles, rank, and status. Further, it is impossible to know if another person took several hours to draft a one screen response, or several minutes. Responses are judged by the ideas and thoughts conveyed, more so than by who is doing the writing. As a result, the lack of social cues and the asynchronous nature of the medium affords those with physical limitations or personal reticence the possibility of participating fully and equally in communicative activities within a mainstream environment. However, researchers realize that when social context cues are minimized nonreticent personalities can be encouraged to become overly zealous in their responses, or to become publicly inflammatory and aggressive on a personal level in ways that generally do not occur in other media. Second, it has been noted that some students prefer the social aspects of the classroom and are unsettled by the lack of face-toface interaction in CMC, or the lack of a (sometimes) charismatic lecturer during presentation.


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Another potential benefit of CMC is in promoting multicultural awareness. With the demographic make-up of many countries changing so rapidly, it is becoming increasingly important to develop communication skills for a culturally diverse community and world. Still, although CMC enhances some of these valuable skills for the 21st century, we must remember that because the bulk of CMC is conducted in English and in the written rather than in the spoken word, it may perpetuate some cultural hegemonies. Many authors recognize CMC's capability, under certain circumstances, to reduce the sense of isolation sometimes felt by students and teachers. However, still others believe that the lack of social cues and face-to-face interaction increases the sense of isolation for persons using this medium to teach and learn. They point out that CMC may interfere with face-to-face relationships or be addictive. However, as the chapters in this volume make clear, we cannot deny its value as a teaching tool. We simply need to remember that responsible use of CMC means using it in addition to other media, not as a replacement. As educators, our job is to provide options to fit a variety of learning styles, and it is in this regard that CMC can help the most. There are technical benefits to using CMC, such as the ease of circulating and archiving files and documents (e.g., teacher messages, student work, assignments). On the other hand, the learning curve, with regard to learning the system and the technical "how tos" of the computer and telecommunications, can be steep. The cost of buying and supporting systems or accessing other networks is a significant "overhead" item in schools and colleges today, as is the cost and inconvenience of upgrading, repairing, or replacing hardware. Further, computer systems are not 100% reliable, a fact that adds to inconvenience and wasted time. With so many systems to learn and sources to tap, information overload has become a problem as some users struggle with the lack of criteria to help them to decide what to keep and what to discard from the swiftly flowing stream of incoming information.


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All these factors--the idea that teachers, information designers, and instructional developers can use CMC to promote collaboration, cooperation, the sharing of ideas, and as an equalizing medium-means that the roles of students and teachers will change. No longer perceived as the sole experts and information providers, teachers become facilitators and guides. Conversely, students are no longer passive learners, attempting to mimic what they see and hear from the expert teacher. They become participants, collaborators in the creation of knowledge and meaning. Yet we must attempt not to reproduce or augment the problems associated with the gap between technology "haves" and "have nots" when we design CMC and computer conferencing applications and curricula. Every software, networking, or curriculum innovation reflects, to some degree, the unarticulated assumptions about the world view of the culture that created it. We must be aware of this fact and strive to create and use CMC innovations that allow for multiplicity, for change, for difference. In response to increased pressure on universities and instructors to provide instructional delivery systems that go beyond the traditional "chalk-and-talk" form of lecture, computer-mediated conferencing has emerged as a tool for instructional communication not bound by prescribed meeting times or by geographic proximity. Successful integration of CMC into the curriculum, however, depends on one's ability to design and use CMC applications that meet course goals, delivery goals, or both. As part of course planning, we must address issues such as course goals, hardware availability, and student readiness. Large expenditures on CMC for the classroom will not help unless teachers understand how the technology helps fulfill the goals of the course. To this end, the chapters in this volume provide examples and practical advice.

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July 1996
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Social Relationships in Electronic Forums
Hangouts, Workplaces Communities Salons, and

by Rob Kling


The New Technology: Impacts on the Press and on Social Relationships


Workplace Relationships
Kyley Dutton

University of Melbourne Library Catalogue Title: Author: Style : language variation and identity / Nikolas Coupland. Coupland, Nikolas , 1950-


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Tanis, M. (2003). Cues to Identity in CMC. The impact on Person Perception and Subsequent Interaction Outcomes. Thesis University of Amsterdam. Enschede: Print Partners Ipskamp. Short, J.A., Williams, E., & Christie, B. (1976). The social psychology of telecommunications. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Short, J.A. (1974). Effects of medium of communication on experimental negotiation. Human Relations, 27 (3), 325-334.

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Blogs Virtual learning environment Instant messaging Appendix 1  P279 Hofstede’s 4 categories


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