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Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) is an aspect of interpersonal communication and is any form of communication between two or more individuals who interact and/or influence each other via computer-supported media. CMC mainly focus on social effects of different computer-supported communication technologies. Many recent CMC methods involve: instant messaging, text messaging, email and internet-based social networking supported by social software.

Scope of the field

Scholars from a variety of fields study phenomena that can be described by the umbrella term of CMC (see also Internet studies). For example, many take a sociological approach to CMC by examining how humans use "computers" (or digital media) to form, support and maintain relationships with others (social uses), regulate information flow (instructional uses), and make decisions (including major financial and political ones).

Communication scholars, sociolinguists, linguistic anthropologists, and others sometimes study CMC to observe how language is used in computer-mediated settings (online discourse environments). This includes such paralinguistic features as emoticons; pragmatic rules like turn taking; and specialised registers or sets of terminology specific to these environments (see Leet).

The way humans communicate in professional, social, and educational settings is different, depending upon not only the environment but also the method of communication in which the communication occurs, which in this case, is through the use of computers. The study of communication to achieve collaboration - common work products - called computer-supported collaboration and includes only some of the concerns of CMC.

CMC mostly occurs through e-mail, video, audio or chat (text conferencing including "instant messaging"), bulletin boards, list-servers and multi-player video games. These settings are changing rapidly with the development of new technologies.

Weblogs have become popular, and although they lack the equal power relationship of most CMC, the exchange of RSS data has better enabled users to each "become their own publisher".

The wiki has come to provide interesting alternatives for communication.

Characteristics

Switching communication to a more computer mediated form has an effect on many different factors: impression formation, deception and lying behavior, group dynamics, disinhibition, and especially relationship formation.

CMC is examined and compared to other communication media through common aspects of any forms of communication, including (but not limited to) synchronicity, persistence or "recordability", and anonymity. Each of these aspects vary widely for different forms of communication. For example, instant messaging is highly synchronous, but rarely persistent since one loses all the content when one closes the dialog box unless one has a message log set up or has manually copy-pasted the conversation. E-mail and message boards are similar; both are low in synchronicity since response time varies, but high in persistence since messages sent and received are saved.

Anonymity and in part privacy and security, depends more on the context and particular program/web page being used. It is important to remember the psychological and social implications of these factors, instead of just focusing on the technical limitations.

See also

External links

  • [1] Association of Internet Researchers
  • Collaboration & technology - help contribute to a free collaborative encycolopedia on collaboration.
  • [2] Communications @
  • [3] Cornell University CMC


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