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The Effects of Online Communication versus Face-To-Face Communication


TheEffects of Online Communication versus Face-To-Face Communication

TheEffects of Online Communication versus Face-To-Face Communication

Innovationsand advances in the field of Information CommunicationTechnology(ICT) have resulted into major revolutions and remarkablechanges in communication and use of media may it be in organizations,work places or in general social interactions. It therefore becomesimperative to scrutinize and analyze the impact of this advancementin communication technology particularly in regards to the normalworkplace settings, our social lives and how it affects communicationpatterns with and among employees, interpersonal relations and assesswhether this technology has substituted and replaced the conventionalface-to face means of communication.

Lee&amp Leung et al. (2011) argue that communication is fundamental topeople’s well-

Justlike other organism, human beings cannot continue to exist withoutinterrelating with their surroundings. Receiving information fromexternal sources is crucial to everyone’s survival and development.The society is made up of a collection of relationships which arebased on communication. Our relations at our dwellings, workplace,and recreation have direct consequences on our state of well-being(Lee &amp Leung et al., 2011).

Eventhough many theories have been advanced as to what are the strengthsor limitations face-to-face versus online means of communication, sofar there is no study analyzing and comparing the two (Baek &ampWojcieszak et al., 2012). However, in their research in the UnitedStates Baek &amp Wojcieszak et al. concluded that both means ofcommunication are equally relevant in many ways. In relation toface-to-face consideration they found that online deliberation isused mainly by the young and more so men and the whites.Additionally, online deliberation draws ideological reasoning andresult s to pessimistic feelings with no possibility of arriving atan agreement or initiate political actions. Concurrently, accordingto the research individuals engaging in online deliberations supposedthat the online platform involves individuals from divergent racialgroups and with different political views. more politically andracially diverse. Implications for understanding the democraticpotential of different forms of deliberation are discussed.

Studieson computer-mediated communication (CMC) have revealed new-fangledand distinctive interpersonal observable facts in cyberspace inaddition to answering questions regarding to CMC. One revelation isthe effect of usage of internet on the users’ psychological healthand in particular people who are lonely and suffering fromdepression. In terms of social interaction, loners and the dejectedwho deem themselves as being socially incompetent end up turning toother alternatives of socialization that they consider safe and withnot as much of threats to them compared to face-to-face communication(Caplan, 2003). Developments in information technology particularlythe internet has led to the expansion of people’s social life andexperiences. This is attributed to the internet allowing people toconverse with acquaintances, family members, colleagues and evenunfamiliar persons across distances and among different cultures,orientations and ethnic backgrounds.

Interms of psychological well-being, depression has been identified asone of the leading causes of health concern among college studentswith various data being advanced to support this over years. However,there are various variables contributing to this concern as they areattributed to depression. Such include and not limited to anxiety,economic factors, stress, race and ethnicity, solitude, deficit inrelational skills, and loneliness. Wright &amp Rosenberg et al.alleges that signs of depression emerge and tend to heighten duringlate adolescence a period which is attributed to substantial socialstress and due to change and adjustments in life especially collegelife. Depression has been associated to a number of health relatedproblems amongst college students. Such problems include abuse ofalcohol and other substances, augmented habit of using tobaccoproducts, nervousness as well as correlated psychological healthproblems. Communication skills tend to look as if they control theresult of these erratic behaviors among student who appear to belonely and consequent depression. This is what eventually makes themto turn to social vices for those who do not seek gratificationthrough the internet.

Face-to-facecommunication requires a lot of effort and there has to be contactamong the participants in order to be successful as well asmaintenance. Any form of endeavor and effort made by the participantsinvolved in the communication are an indication of certain levels ofesteem and approval between the communicating partners. On thecontrary, there is a possibility of interrupting internetcommunication or even communicating with sporadic delays.

Communicationvia the internet does not necessarily require instantaneous responsesand people don’t have to consider their facial and nonverbalexpressions when conversing online. These variations between onlineand offline interpersonal contact add to the various types of socialinteractions and social support, andconsequently awareness of life quality (Wright &amp Rosenberg etal., 2013).As a consequence, an inclination towards online social interactionmight possibly develop based on an individual’s opinion that CMC iscomparatively easier as it is deemed to require not as much ofinterpersonal sophistication when compared to face-to-facecommunication while yet other people view it as being less riskywhich is attributed to more anonymity. This gives some individuals aheightened sense of privacy, self-awareness as well as lesser senseof open self-awareness. Moreover, online communication is consideredto be exciting due to the fact that it is more impulsive, extreme,and inflated since there is more personal self-disclosure anddiminished observance of social norms compared to face-to-facecommunication. This means that the idea of synchronous onlineinterpersonal communication provides as haven for any person who haveto deal with monotonous realism and, particularly for people whosereal lives are disturbed.

Socializationtoday remains one of the trendiest uses of internet. This hasimpelled substantial theories and differences concerning theimplications and significance of online social interactions. Inorder to understand the role played by social interactions over theinternet, it is important to differentiate the broad categories ofactivities performed online and acknowledge the fact that personalrelations can be sustained via the different forms of media. Also, itis important to recognize that the utility of internet is mainlyderived from the choices that an individual user which is seen whenone compares social interactions through the internet andface-to-face communication.

Intheir study involving American students using telephone to socialize,Baym &amp Zhang et al. (2004) compares interpersonal communicationonline, face-to-face interaction and telephone. Generally, theyevaluated the comparative amount of social communications thatstudents carried out through the internet and compared it toface-to-face conversations and phone calls made over some few days.The second study, involved evaluating the participants’ report ontheir internet usage inside their neighboring and far social rings aswell as their use of additional media inside those rings. The resultswere that the nature relations engaging the media to a great dealdepended on physical locality and, to a less significant degree, onthe intimacy of the relationship. The strongest relationship involvedtelephone and use of the internet within the local social ring,particularly the close up local ring.

Researchershave proposed three major theories suggesting how the use of internetwill determine and impinge on people’s emotional well-being. Thesocial expansion theory proposes that communication via the internetexpands people’s overall social capital by providing asupplementary opportunity for daily social relations and bybroadening their social network. The proposition of this theory isthat individuals using the internet as their mode of communicationbenefit and utilize most of its capacity psychologically with yetother studies like Hoffman et al. 2004 and Katz &amp Rice 2002 beingof a similar opinion. Additionally, this outcome can as well beexplicated by means of pre-existing variations between those used anddid not use the internet. This is particularly with majority of thesestudies being restricted to demographic variations among those whouse internet and those who don’t. However, no control ispre-existing disparities in social capital, which include variablessuch as social endorsement.

Onthe other hand, the social displacement theory proposes a totallydifferent and negative utility of the internet. It purports thatcommunication via the internet have negative psychologicalrepercussion to the well-being of the user as it dislodges the normof important everyday social face-to-face relations with family,coworkers and friends. Furthermore, other substantiation propose thatonline social interaction is not psychologically exchangeable withface-to-face social interactions, and are not as much likely thanface-to-face interactions to result in strong bonds or sustain longlasting social interactions. Due to differing results from researchon time spent on the internet, many researchers have been left withquestions as to whether time spend on internet is of equal importanceas the effects of internet usage to their psychological well-being.This is due to the fact that some users are still amateurs to theworld of social media and do not have much exposure when it comes tocommunicating with strangers. This is the case when people are new tosocial media such as face book and tweeter. Moreover, innovations ininformation technology have developed a whole new level and means ofusing the internet which were not available in the earlier studies.As per the displacement theory explanation, time spent using theinternet displaces time previously spent engaging in socialactivities. This is also the case when it comes to passive activitiesmeant to entertain such as watching the television and listening tomusic. These activities lead to people withdrawing from their sociallife as well as resulting to a reduction in the well-being of theusers. However, studies also reveal that many people preferred usingthe internet when engaging in interpersonal communication.

Conceivablyonline interactions which are well incorporated with people’s dailylives whether at work or home life enhances and alleviates theirsocial resources and not necessarily displacing them. A classic casefor example is an email circulating among family and friends makingplans say for a reunion. This interaction is calling for interactionsoffline. Additionally, requesting a friend to assist in doinghomework online builds a spirit of social support and at the sametime increases self-esteem and competence. This is an indicator thatthough done online, these activities augment people’s intimacy andcloseness thus creating a sense of belonging

Withother researchers wondering the effects of the use of internet fordifferent motives other than socialization enhances or displaces aperson’s primary social resources. Kraut et al. (2002) establishedthat extraverts are to some extent more probable to use the internetto talk to their families and friends compared to introverts. Thisshows that they found a reason to hold up the perception that use ofthe internet had intensification outcome for the extraverts as pertheir sample.

Despitethe fact that media consumption and media multitasking by children ison the verge of increase normal face-to-face communication is stillessential and very important. Even though the media has beenrecognized as a key contributor in the process the socializationprocess among children, face-to-face communication with peers as wellas adults mainly contributes to social and emotional growth anddevelopment. In their study, Br &amp TzAeg,(2012) gave a series ofquestions to their respondents in an attempt to examine the effect ofsocial interactions particularly to adolescents. Questions askedinvolved:-

  1. Seeking to find out how the use of media and multitasking affects or contributes to feelings of social success which is a key marker of social wellbeing as well as how an individual deals with the task of developing intimacy.

  2. Seeking to evaluate how media usage and multitasking is related to the development and maintenance of feelings of being normal and as opposed to feelings rejection in comparison to peers.

  3. Seeking to evaluate how media usage and multitasking is related to how many friends are considered to be of bad influence by an individual’s parents.

  4. Seeking to evaluate how media usage and multitasking is related to how many hours an individual sleeps

  5. Seeking to evaluate how media usage and multitasking is related to the major basis of girls’ understanding and incident of positive and negative feelings.

Thestudy came up with five categories of users depending on time andfrequency of using the media in communication.

  1. Advanced users- These are individuals whose mean scores is high when compared to different variables. This is an indicator that both frequency and usage is exceedingly diverse and expansive

  2. Debaters- These are the second group of users. They are very active when it comes to online discussions and debates.

  3. Socializers- This group mainly uses online communication to socialize with friends and family. In addition to socializing they also follow debates and discussions but they rarely contribute.

  4. Lurkers- This category engage in online activities as a way of spending their time. They just look at photos and look for information concerning their friends hence the term lurkers as its just passive consumption

  5. Sporadics- this group is close to non-users. This group rarely goes online and if they do it is for the sole purpose of seeking whether anybody has contacted them.

McKenna&amp Bargh (1998, 2000) came up with the social compensation theorywhich suggests that meeting new people via the internet andparticipating in social media platforms enhances social relationsespecially to those who lacked in terms of initial social capital.They argued that new interactions and online groups tend to assist incompensating lack of social resources especially offline when itcomes to face-to-face interactions. For example, individuals withstigmatized aspects and are deficient in well-matched social groupswith whom they can recognize with can get such groups. Giving suchpersons an opportunity to get acquainted with other people and groupsonline also grants them contact to supplementary social support aswell as a basis for social identification. Additionally, the internetgives them a platform in which they can freely interact and expressthemselves. Their research revealed that people expressed themselvesbetter with people they share attributes with and were inclined toexhibitsuperlative qualities to their partners online (Bargh etal. 2002 McKenna et al.2002).

Inthe summer of 2010, the Discovery magazine carried out an onlinesurvey aimed at examining the relationship between young girls’ useof media and their well being. Among the variable were listening tomusic, sending emails, playing video games, posts on various mediasite, sending short messages and instant texts, telephoneconversations, video chatting and lastly face-to-face communication.The study initiated a more rough evaluation of use of various mediaat the same time and provided a relative evaluation of the use ofmedia compared to instances the girls engaged in face-to-facecommunication. When the results were analyzed using the regressionmethod, the findings were that negative social attributes werepositively related to media uses which are primarily concerned withlevels interpersonal communication and in particular phone andonline communication in addition to usage of media which does notengage in interpersonal communication including video, listening tomusic, and reading. It is important to note that the study revealedthat the use of video was predominantly and to a great extent linkedwith negative and unconstructive social well-being markers. This wasalso the case with media multitasking which was as well connectedwith negative social indicators. On the other hand, face-to-faceinteraction was strongly linked with positive social well-beingindicators. Ownership of cellular phone and presence of a TV orcomputer in one’s room was however found to have modest directconnection to the socio- emotion well being on children. The studyconcluded by coming up with probable causes and hypothesis explainingand outlining possible implication of their findings in matterspertaining to social well-being of young adolescents (Pea &amp Nasset al., 2012)

Mostprevious studies did not account for time spent in face-to-facecommunication simultaneously with the utilization of group andinterpersonal usage of media, principally given this union of socialdevelopmental issues. Additionally, feelings of acceptance otherthan those of rejection are associated with competence especiallyduring late childhood.

Beingaccepted by peers’ is assumed to encourage the growth ofhigh-quality acquaintances, while peer rejection is associated withdifficulties in instituting the same later on as well as bringingcontroversies in matters pertaining to personal adjustment ( Meluch &ampWalter, 2012).

Borrowingfrom previous studies by Bagwell &amp Bukowski’s’ (1998), adultswho had experienced minor levels of pre-adolescent peer rejectionwere found to have superior self-worth as later in life, while thosewho experienced constant peer rejection as children exhibited highlevels of psychopathological signs. Exposure to risky behaviorparticularly among peers presents yet another developmental challengewith parents thinking that having more friends can lead to badinfluence due to a large social circle.

Insummation, evidence at hand proposes if an individual spends fewhours surfing the internet do not necessarily mean that they will endup having steady consequences on their well-being. Bessi`Ere&amp Kiesler et al. (2008)proposes that depending on how people use the internet, they tend tohave varying outcomes which is determined by their social resources.They also noted that preceding researchers made no comparison betweenthe different uses of internet and made did not make a provision tocontrol individuals with no initial levels of social capitalresources and well-being. In order to scrutinize these potentials,they performed a longitudinal research by focusing on situations andpersonality of their participants’ initial social capital and theiroverall use of the internet. These variables enabled them to testdifferent hypotheses in relation to the effects of using internet fordifferent purposes on the well-being of the respondents. Conducting alongitudinal research also enabled them to test other theories amongthem the augmentation theory, displacement theory, and compensationtheory (Bessi`Ere&amp Kiesler et al., 2008).

Researchon the effects of internet usage and how it affects socialconnectivity presents a wide range of standpoints and conclusionregarding the same. However it is important to note that advancesin ICT has to a great extent affected communication patterns amongindividuals in the different social set ups. Many people tend toprefer CMC as opposed to face-to-face communication. With differenttheories trying to explain the result of this preference, it isimperative to note that we still can’t do without face-to-facecommunication. It is also important to note that online CMC speaksvolume about an individual’s well-being as it affects theirpsychological development, cognitive development as well as theirability to initiate social interactions.


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