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Communications and Media

Published by Emily Ray — 19 days ago

Blog: Communications and Media
Tags: Erasmus tips

Nowadays, much of the world's resources, forms, and methods of communication are related to the modern technical possibilities, which, in particular, are represented by a global computer network – the Internet. This is primarily due to the fact that inventors of the last century made a huge leap in the development of science and technology that opened up new horizons for communication. The emergence and development of digital and computer technology, and later the mass distribution of personal computers revealed a new kind of "human-computer" interaction. Moreover, the development of Internet added to the "man-computer" interaction even more advantageous possibility of communication – "man-computer-man" interaction. Having analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of the computer-mediated communication, it has been concluded that such type of communication is more convenient, flexible, and effective. What is more important, it has a considerable advantage over interpersonal communication as it creates favorable conditions for the development of intercultural communication.

It should be noted that the computer-mediated communication is developing rapidly due to the substantial popularity of such social networks as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Periscope, Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, and many others. Therefore, nowadays almost every person in the world has access to the Internet at home and uses it for different types of communication. Moreover, the monthly amount of social networks’ users increases by 7-10 percent. Rapidly increasing number of publications on the web heralds its wide distribution even in areas with no access to communications technology. The Internet is transformed from a toy of some intellectuals into the valuable source of various useful information, becoming the main form of communication. Consequently, computer-mediated communication, covering almost all civilized corners of the planet, is a powerful tool for intercultural communication that promotes rapprochement of peoples and growth of both national and international identity.

The Internet as a Means of Intercultural Communication

Nowadays, it is hard to overestimate the role of the Internet in creating the flow of information, socialization and communication organization as one of the aspects necessarily associated with the flow of these sources. After all, communication is the way people interact with each other. Hence, with the advent of global web communication, this type of interaction has spread further beyond a house, a city or even a country. Undoubtedly, there exist other means of distant communication, such as mail, telephone, and telegraph. However, those inconveniences, which the users of such communication often encounter, force many of them to move into the ranks of those people who have already appreciated the advantages of the new world of digital technology and web communication.

It should be agreed that currently, e-mail, various forums organized in the network space, many Internet magazines and newspapers, and, in fact, the Internet itself have become considerably more important aspects of everyday life than TV or printed media. At one time, these means of social media have been completely replaced by their more updated and technologically developed brother. The Internet forms the core that provides the connection between various information networks belonging to different institutions around the world.

If earlier the global network was used as the environment for transmission of files and email messages, nowadays it can help solve more complex tasks due to the distributed access to Internet resources. The Internet, which was initially utilized for research and teaching interests, is becoming increasingly popular in the world, surpassing ordinary communication. Internet communication is especially important for those whose real life is due to specific reasons interpersonally depleted. These people use the global network as an alternative to its direct (real) environment. Moreover, about half of Internet users take advantage of the web space to expand their circle of friends as computer-mediated communication creates the illusion of friendly relationships without friendship requirements. Thus, the Internet plays a huge role in the organization of such communication.

Among other advantages of the computer-mediated communication, it is important to mention the fact that it does not necessarily exist within one country only. Since the Internet is a worldwide web, it can connect people from different countries. An abundance of applications and social networks only helps and promotes web communication between representatives of different countries, cultures, and races. This provides the opportunity to participate in various international Internet forums and communicate in chat rooms, which is an outstanding chance to explore cultures of other countries and to give foreigners an idea of one's own culture.

Methods of Computer-Mediated Communication

Among other advantages and factors that influence interpersonal and intercultural communication, one should mention a great variety of means of computer-mediated communication. The modern world offers a multitude of web communication means, including e-mail, forums, various conferences, chats, network games, social networks, mobile applications, and many others.

A universal means of communication via computer is the e-mail, which is a well-known analog of the communication system through letters sent in envelopes. Nevertheless, in this case, the letter exists in the form of an electronic message that is sent from the computer's memory sender to the recipient’s mailbox. As a rule, the whole process may occupy from one to five minutes. Nevertheless, in order to make the process faster, many email services have established instant messaging applications that allow receiving the message and replying to it at once, within seconds.

Electronic correspondence has some peculiar features. First of all, the communication bears interpersonal or group character. Moreover, this communication is always mediated and distant. Depending on the form of interaction, virtual communication can be a monolog, a dialogue, or even a polylogue. The communication form can be written as well as verbal (in case, there are audio files attached). Additionally, such type of communication can be used for different purposes, starting from business aims and ending with entertainment ones. Depending on the level of interlocutors, they build different relationships and pursue specific goals.

Email communication has considerable advantages over paper mail. It includes the meager investment of time and money for forwarding, less amount of time required for successful data delivery, the ability to send the letter along with audio materials, as well as to multiple recipients, and the possibility of letters referral.

Nevertheless, it is important to mention some of the disadvantages of the email communication. First of all, a person needs to have access to the Internet, create email address, and possess basic knowledge of PC management software. Moreover, when one is sending large pieces of attached files or large files, it is better to use regular mail.

Another way of being involved in computer-mediated communication implies forums that organize information exchange and communication between a large number of participants, who are interested in the topic of discussion. The topic causes the concentration of interlocutors in one place, turning the communication into a general discussion. Among the main advantages of Internet forums, one should mention the absence of restrictions on contingent members. Any user of the Internet can become a participant of forum discussions, regardless of their personal characteristics and differences. The process continues until the topic is interesting for the interlocutors.

The global network offers a great variety of topics divided by subject, contingent, and persecuted goals. Therefore, any person of any country, nationality, and age can find the subject that will be of interest to him/her. It means that everyone has the opportunity to discuss the subject with similar people from any country, of any age, and any nationality. It only proves the importance of computer-mediated communication for the development and enhancement of intercultural communication.

Among the advantages of Internet forums over live communication, one should mention the fact that the participants of forum discussion do not need to go anywhere to participate in it. All they have to do is to switch on their computers and write their electronic addresses. Moreover, forum discussion significantly saves time, effort, and money. Additionally, it has no strict time limits and allows participating directly in several forums. Finally, the lack of physical contact with opponents precludes the use of physical force in dispute situations.

The disadvantages of using this type of computer-mediated communication are similar to the ones of emails. First of all, participation in forum discussion requires a computer, access to the Internet, electronic mailbox, as well as basic knowledge of using PC software. More importantly, forums deprive the participants of the visual contact as the majority of forum members are not willing to put their photos on display.

Moreover, with the rapid development of technology, people have received the opportunity to communicate with the help of their mobile phones. Modern phones offer an abundance of applications and tools that allow reaching any person from any part of the world in no time. Very often, the utilization of such tools implies no direct communication (as, for instance, in chats, forums, Skype), but the indirect or hidden communication. For instance, a new photo uploaded to Instagram or Facebook with some comment under it plays the role of communication means although the person who posted it has not really communicated. Using this method, a person wants to “communicate” with all followers simultaneously, not spending too much time writing to each of them. Unfortunately, such type of communication may bring more negative consequences than positive ones. For instance, some photo regarded as beautiful and full of meaning by one person may be interpreted in an absolutely different way by others. Therefore, photo as a means of communication may not fulfill its function properly as some individuals may not understand the intended message and use it against the sender.

The Influence of Computer-Mediated Communication on Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication

Social media are helping people become more interactive and sociable with each other. However, the forms of socializing and communicating have changed. According to the Telegraph Media Group, a recent research showed that one in four people spend more time socializing online than communicating in person. Face-to-face communication does not occur that often anymore since social interaction via Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Skype has become the essential source of communication for many people. When communicating through social media and instant messaging, the relationships built tend to be less personal and intimate than traditional face-to-face relationships. However, it can be the perfect way to maintain interpersonal relationships with people, who cannot have face-to-face contact every day. The quality of such relationships may not be as strong as those that occur in real life, but social networking sites such as Facebook provide an alternative source of communication that could be a benefit for people with busy schedules. For example, Facebook allows people to catch up by providing older to newer posts and news feeds of each person. This way, it becomes easy to receive updates of people’s lives when they are unable to meet face-to-face. Furthermore, an occasional like, comment or a direct message written to a person’s page can maintain an interpersonal relationship among people, who do not see one another face-to-face daily. Studies that involved a group of Taiwan adolescents showed that frequent use of Facebook among youths builds stronger real-life interpersonal relationships among friends. Social media tools such as Skype provide phone calls, instant messaging and video chats, which allows people to communicate more effectively and easily. They show visual nonverbal cues, such as face gestures, voice tones, and hand movements, which are extremely important non-verbal components that help in achieving an interpersonal relationship successfully. For Christina Scheilker, who lives in a different country from her husband, Skype helps in maintaining long-distance relationships. This application has allowed her to communicate effectively with her husband and maintain a healthy relationship via video conferences. Its main benefit is that it is flexible to use at any time as it is free and only needs access to the Internet. Skype allows people from different countries to have an easy source of communication, which does not cost as much as international calls and can be accessed at any time of the day. According to the Telegraph Group, a study showed that when people have the opportunity to see one another face-to-face, 11 percent of adults preferred to stay home and communicate via their devices. This shows that the communication era has changed. As the world is developing, the ways of maintaining interpersonal relationships are changing and evolving, focusing on the universal method of communication via social media, which people eagerly use nowadays.

Computer-mediated communication has changed the ways of building interpersonal relationships, as the capability to see a person face-to-face is no longer the first step toward a long-lasting connection. The research argues that the lack of nonverbal and physical cues does not necessarily render the strength of online-built relationships since it can be as intimate and personally fulfilling as usual face-to-face relationships. For example, the Internet provides countless venues for initiating friendship or romantic relationships, which satisfies communication needs of many people. 23 percent of online daters say that they have established long-term relationships and happy marriage due to online dating. Building a relationship online allows people to communicate at an intercultural level since the person talked to can be from any geographical location. 53 percent of Internet users believe online dating allows people to find a better match as the number of people is not limited. Moreover, communicating online can be an alternative and easier method of interaction for people, such as introverts, who are afraid of approaching or engaging in face-to-face conversation.  59 percent of Internet users think that online dating is a good way to establish new relationships as it allows people to connect at a deeper and more personal level, where chemistry among participants is not developed solely due to personal appearance.

This paper has examined the essential features of computer-mediated communication. The chosen topic is relevant due to the need to further study the Internet communication, as, despite its virtual nature, it has gradually become one of the main types of interaction between people all around the world. The object of the study was the Internet as a means of intercultural communication. The subject of the research work consisted in the reasons and main features of Internet communication. The investigation of the issue provided an opportunity to assess the role of the Internet in modern life, as well as identify the advantages and disadvantages of virtual communication.

The paper explored the concept and organization of communication via the Internet, revealed aspects of the dialogue, identified its basic shape, and determined the advantages and disadvantages of virtual interaction. Moreover, it elucidated the characteristics of the Internet communication, as well as determined the prospects of computer-mediated communication development. Finally, the meticulous analysis of the issue has proved that computer-mediated communication can be regarded as an alternative to interpersonal communication. On the one hand, it will never be able to replace real-life communication, though it provides large opportunities for intercultural interaction. On the other hand, despite all negative consequences, computer-mediated communication is more efficient, flexible, and convenient than face-to-face communication.

Computer-mediated communication has many advantages over conventional methods of personal communication, which plays a considerable role in attracting people to the Internet interaction. Its main drawback is that it creates barriers to non-verbal communication and diminishes interpersonal skills. On the contrary, its main benefit lies in enhancing intercultural communication, which allows any person from any part of the world reach another person from a different country at any time. Therefore, being the main means of building relationships at an intercultural level and fostering the sense of community, the computer-mediated communication turns the world into a global village, where anyone from any culture can find its perfect place.

About author

Emily works as an editor at She directly participates in editing and supplementing interesting and unique works for any student, ensuring their correctness and relevance. Emily studied at the Faculty of Philology and holds a master's degree

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