Running head: VARYING DEFINITIONS OF ONLINE COMMUNICATION
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Varying Definitions of Online Communication and Their Effects on Relationship Research Elizabeth L. Angeli
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VARYING DEFINITIONS OF ONLINE COMMUNICATION Abstract
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This paper explores four published articles that report on results from research conducted on online (Internet) and offline (non-Internet) relationships and their relationship to computer-mediated communication (CMC). The articles, however, vary in their definitions and uses of CMC. Butler and Kraut (2002) suggest that face-to-face (FtF) interactions are more effective than CMC, defined and used as “email,” in creating feelings of closeness or intimacy. Other articles define CMC differently and, therefore, offer different results. This paper examines Cummings, Butler, and Kraut’s (2002) research in relation to three other research articles to suggest that all forms of CMC should be studied in order to fully understand how CMC influences online and offline relationships. Keywords: computer-mediated communication, face-to-face communication
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VARYING DEFINITIONS OF ONLINE COMMUNICATION Varying Definitions of Online Communication and Their Effects on Relationship Research
Numerous studies have been conducted on various facets of Internet relationships, focusing on the levels of intimacy, closeness, different communication modalities, and the frequency of use of computer-mediated communication (CMC). However, contradictory results are suggested within this research because only certain aspects of CMC are investigated, for example, email only. Cummings, Butler, and Kraut (2002) suggest that face-to-face (FtF) interactions are more effective than CMC (read: email) in creating feelings of closeness or intimacy, while other studies suggest the opposite. To understand how both online (Internet) and offline (non-Internet) relationships are affected by CMC, all forms of CMC should be studied. This paper examines Cummings et al.’s research against other CMC research to propose that additional research be conducted to
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