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Walther’s social information processing theory

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a theory about building relationships online

a theory about building relationships online

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  • 1. Walther’s Social Information Processing Theory JEMAIMA RAE C. PORTER AB JOURNALISM
  • 2. Education • Royal Shakespeare Company at Coastline Community College • University of Arizona and graduating magna cum laude in 1983. • University of Arizona, earning a Master’s degree in speech communication in 1984 and a doctorate in 1990. Theories • Social information processing theory in 1992. • Hyperpersonal model of communication in 1996 Profession • Has been a Professor in various communication schools since 1990 • 2006- current: > Professor, Dept. of Communication, Michigan State University & Professor, > Dept. of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media, Michigan State University
  • 3. The Theory
  • 4. Summary • SIP is all about Computer-MediatedCommunication (CMC). e.g. e-mail ; Instant Messaging and other types of text-based non-verbal communication. • This theory indicates that CMC users can adapt this restricted medium and use it effectively to develop close relationships.
  • 5. Before • The theory’s [SIP ‘s] general consensus was that CMC was not a good medium to develop relationships • There existed these 3 theories: – Social presence theory: CMC deprives users of the sense that another actual person is involved – Media richness theory: CMC’s bandwidth is too narrow to convey rich relational messages. – Cues filtered out: Interpretation of CMC that regards lack of none-verbal cues as a fatal flaw for using the medium for relationship development.
  • 6. The Argument • Even without the rich none-verbal present in face-to-face communication, given enough time CMC users can develop relationships just as strong as those done through face-to-face – If you were handed a glass of water you could choose to either gulp it straight from the glass, or through a straw one sip at a time. – The amount of time it takes to develop the relationship.
  • 7. • CMC users rely on text-only messages to convey the information that nonverbal cues would do in face-to-face encounters. – “You’ve Got Mail”
  • 8. Differences • Online communication o CMC users form impressions by the content of the message o The response time of the message o Delayed response o Prompt response o Relationship Stage o Tone the sender wants to convey • Face-to-Face o Facial Expressions o Tone of Voice o Body position o Interpersonal distance o Gestures o Touch
  • 9. The experiment 28 pairs of students split into face-toface and CMC users, with no prior relationship with one another. Asked to discuss moral dilemmas, and one person in each of the pairs was a confederate with a goal to either be friendly or unfriendly. Confederates in the CMC group were able to convey friendliness or unfriendliness just as successfully as the ones in face-to-face.
  • 10. Walther’s belief’s • Any message spoken in person will take at least four times longer to say through CMC. • Two other temporal factors could contribute to intimacy on the internet: anticipated future interaction and chronemics.
  • 11. More about that • Chronemics: The study of people’s systematic handling of time in their interaction with others. • Anticipated future interaction: A way of extending psychological time; the likelihood of future interaction motivates CMC users to develop a relationship. – If you know you’ll be interacting with someone, you’re more likely to disclose more information about yourself.
  • 12. Recognize any of this?
  • 13. Looking at the Theory SIP Theory is consistent with oSocial Penetration Theory oUncertainty Reduction Theory
  • 14. Looking at the Theory Hyper-Personal perspective: CMC relationships that they are more intimate than romances or friendships would be if partners were together. Interpersonal Impression Relationship Information Formation Development
  • 15. Critique •The use of online dating might actually make relationships form faster because of anticipation of future interaction makes the impression forming process go faster. •People who use CMC to join online discussion groups may have a higher need for affiliation than the typical person whose relationships are developed through multichannel modes of communication. •The theory has plenty of holes and the author openly admits that. The theory makes some claims that some may feel are farfetched but the depth of research and analysis provided by Walther make it a respected and validated theory.
  • 16. Advantagaes Disadvantages • Convince of sending the o People become more message in your own self-absorbed and less time. inhibited • The Intimacy of the o CMC relationship will relationship would be be weaker/fragile (when establishing the relationship) the same if they meet o Logging off face-to-face. o Terminating the relationship o Impersonal o Task-oriented
  • 17. Conclusion The Theory proves that there is no difference on the long term effect of the relationship, where the two individuals meet: • Online • Face-to-Face That it would not have an effect of the Intimacy of the relationship.
  • 18. Conclusion • The Theory proves that the an online relationships will take longer with the communication channels compared to an face-to-face communication channel • The Theory shows that the CMC Users are more than likely to be Single rather than in a current relationship

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