Positive Effect of Computer-Mediated Communication on Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication
Communication plays a crucial role in the life of every person. In the ancient times, people were able to have only face-to-face communication. However, nowadays people can communicate with each other, regardless of where they are by using computer-mediated communication (CMC). The latter is a form of communication, which takes place via computer. The Internet enables people to connect their computers to the world web and communicate with other individuals from all around the world. People often communicate with each other using such social networks as Facebook, Twitter, Face-time, and Skype. One can send messages, photos, videos, audios, and other personal materials in these social networks. CMC not only affects positively the interpersonal communication in a direct way by making it possible regardless the distance but also produces a globalizing effect on the intercultural communication in the indirect way. Computer-mediated communication has made a significant impact on the communication between different people and cultures. CMC has changed the way in which people perceive the world and how they react to the behavior of other individuals (Lustig & Koester, 2013d). People feel that they are less separated from other individuals and more connected with the rest of the world. In the past, it was very hard to maintain communication with people who were on the other side of the country or in another part of the world. Therefore, individuals felt strong sense of separation from those who lived far from them. However, everything has changed because of the rapid technological and scientific progress. Nowadays social networks and computer-mediated communication help people feel close to others, regardless of their location. The autonomy of every person who uses social network is getting weaker. On the contrary, the feeling of connection to other people is becoming stronger (Lustig & Koester, 2013d). CMC has enabled people to have intercultural relationships and widen circle of friends, whose diverse living conditions make people change their perception of life. Speaking with other people and hearing their points of view, helps consider issues from a different perspective. People enjoy communication and like speaking about own achievements and changes that happen in life.
Sharing their success and personal achievements enables people to feel the joy of achieving the desired thing once again (Lustig & Koester, 2013d). One can assume that sharing with other people doubles the joy. Computer-mediated communication can be emotionally dead, if people are not discussing something that really matters to them (Lustig & Koester, 2013d). When people talk about their life, achievements, and things, which are important to them, they get the feeling that the world knows about their existence. However, if individuals are discussing something important to them, they can feel the same excitement like if they were having a face-to-face communication. People really like to speak about their private life with those ones who are able to understand and help solve problems by giving some useful advice (Wright & Webb, 2011, p. 47). However, in the past, people were able to communicate only with their neighbors. Therefore, a person had limited circle of friends and not many people had the similar perception of life. Computer-mediated communication assisted in finding more like-minded friends. CMC enables people, who belong to different cultures and speak different languages, to communicate with each other through such social networks as Facebook, Twitter, Face-time, and Skype or other services, which use the Internet to connect people all around the world (Lustig & Koester, 2013c). People become more alike due to the fact that they are able to share information with each other and change points of view on the world. People, who belong to different cultures and have different beliefs, view the world differently. That is why people were unable to understand each other because of the large gap between the cultures (Lustig & Koester, 2013c). However, nowadays, with the usage of computer-mediated communication, people who belong to different cultures are able to not only share their views on the world but also modify the perception of others. Speakers, who belong to different cultures, express their ideas and views in a different way. They have their own way of thinking and own way of choosing evidence to support the arguments they make (Lustig & Koester, 2013c). For example, the ideas, which they reckon reasonable, differ from those that are made by people who belong to another cultural group. The ideas, which people consider to be rational, depend on the cultural group to which they belong (Wright & Webb, 2011, p. 49). They also depend on the time at which people live. Computer-mediated communication produces a significant influence on the people’s perception of what is rational and what is not. What is more, it helps people share their views with each other and change each other’s perception of what is rational and not.
CMC influences the cultural identity of people (Lustig & Koester, 2013b). It weakens the person’s sense of belonging to a particular cultural group by broadening cultural views and globalizing them. As a result, an individual begins to have a sense of belonging to a global cultural group or, in other words, to a global culture. Computer-mediated communication also has considerable impact on the communication of different ethnic groups (Wright & Webb, 2011, p. 112). It makes an individual from one ethnic group feel that there is no significant difference between ethnic groups and that they have a lot in common. As a result, the borders between various ethnic groups begin to erase (Lustig & Koester, 2013c). When people were unable to communicate with those who lived on the other side of the planet, they were communicating mostly with the ones who belonged to their own cultural group. Membership in a specific culture influences the person’s behavior and views on life. This individual acts in the same way as other members of the same groups. Therefore, this person starts to think that he/she has more in common with this specific group than with people who belong to other cultural or social group. However, when the borders between the cultural and social groups were erased by computer-mediated communication, it has become obvious that there is no big diversity between people who belonged to different groups. People, who belong to the same cultural group, may still have different personal characteristics. Computer-mediated communication enables this people to find like-minded individuals who belong to different social and cultural groups. As a result, these people feel less lonely and more self-confident as they know that there are those who can truly understand their feelings. Through computer-mediated communication, people are able to share information about their own culture and learn about other culture as well. Such social networks as Facebook, Twitter, and Skype enable people to not only tell each other about their culture but also show photos and videos, which illustrate important things about it. These social networks help people ask questions and receive answers to these questions immediately. People are able to fully understand other cultures through computer-mediated communication. For example, Facebook users are able to post the information about themselves, write on their wall, post video and audio materials, and comment the information, which one reckons to be important. It enables other people to see the culture of an individual from the person’s own point of view. Having friends, who belong to different cultural and social groups, helps people understand better those who belong to the same cultural group and get a grip on their behavior. Computer-mediated communication creates a positive impact on people’s life because it helps share experience (Lustig & Koester, 2013c). People have received an opportunity to learn new ways to do the same thing and can chose between own approach and the ways offered by others, depending on the fact which way seems to be more effective and optimal. The world becomes a global village, due to a fact that computer-mediated communication enables individuals to spread the news all over the world immediately. People are becoming globalized, because they are being acquainted with the events, which take place thousands miles away from where they live (Lustig & Koester, 2013a). This ability brings the feelings that the world is a small place, which is the same everywhere. As a result, people seem to have the similar perception of the world regardless of the place where they live. Due to the globalization, people begin to have the shared values and the same perception of style, beauty, career, etc. Through computer-mediated communication, people are able to share experience with other people in a second. Interpersonal communication has become closer. It is easier for people to gather information about a person with whom they speak using CMC (Lustig & Koester, 2013d). People are able to interpret the behavior of an individual by applying the knowledge that can be received from his or her posts in social networks. CMC has made the communication more pleasant and more predictable. It is due to the fact that people communicate with each other frequently and can understand and even predict the behavior of each other (Lustig & Koester, 2013e). Computer-mediated communication has made conversations between people more similar, i. e. the common conversation starts with greetings and questions how somebody is doing. It is possible to assert that social conversations of different people have a lot in common. Interpersonal communication has become more interactive. Mobile devices help people speak with their friends and relatives even when they are not at home. Intercultural communication also become more frequent due to a fact that nowadays, it is not required to travel abroad to get acquainted with people from another country (Wright & Webb, 2011, p. 247). CMC has made the intercultural communication easier. Nowadays the location is not a problem anymore for communication. In addition, one can assume that computer-mediated communication has made people more tolerant towards each other. When people are travelling, they are already acquainted with the culture of that region due to the conversations, which they had via computer. After viewing a Facebook profile of a person, one can form certain opinion of this person. Nevertheless, people tend not to believe a stranger, with whom they speak via the computer. The reason is that it is easier to lie about one’s physical appearance, marital status, or occupation via the Internet than in personal conversation (Lustig & Koester, 2013a). Online, people can present themselves as their ideal, while in the face-to-face conversation they can present only their true selves (Schultz & Goodboy, 2013, p.4). Computer-mediated communication made the interpersonal communication quite risky (Schultz & Goodboy, 2013, p. 6). It is so due to the fact that people communicating with each other via the Internet are often complete strangers, who do not have any friends in common. Facebook enables people to share their life with the world. It helps people find those ones who have the same views on the world and become friends with them. It also allows sharing the photo-documentary of the person’s life with the friends of this individual. The information, which one provides in the profile on Facebook and other social networks, tells a lot about this person (Schultz & Goodboy, 2013, p.12). Even if a person does not tell a lot about him or herself to the person, an interlocutor can take information from the Facebook profile. However, due to a fact that people can lie about themselves on the Internet, writing and posting false information and photos, one should not trust a profile of a person . Computer-mediated communication enabled people to include messages, photos, music, videos, audio, and drawings into their conversations (Greiffenstern, 2010, p. 257). The interpersonal communication became more effective because of the CMC as it enables the sender and the receiver to communicate and respond to each other at the same time. For example, Skype provides an opportunity to write and speak to each other at the same time. Computer-mediated communication has both direct and indirect influence on the communication. The ability to share messages, photos, and videos being far away from each other is the result of the direct influence of CMC on the communication (Greiffenstern, 2010, p. 267). It should be stated that globalization of the society is the result of the indirect influence of computer-mediated communication on the communication. To conclude, CMC has a positive and significant effect on the modern communication. The computer-mediated communication has affected both interpersonal and intercultural communication in a direct and indirect way. The computer-mediated communication has influenced interpersonal and intercultural communication directly by enabling the speakers to communicate via computers. It helps the speakers be able to communicate with each other even if they are not in the same room. Such social networks as Twitter, Skype, and Facebook assist their users in sharing photos, videos, audios, and messages with each other regardless of where the speakers are at that moment and how far they are from each other. What is more, computer-mediated communication has affected interpersonal and intercultural communication indirectly by changing the way people perceive the world around them. People begin to feel closer to each other, regardless of the location. What is more, due to the usage of computer-mediated communication, the society becomes more globalized. Cultural and personal differences between people begin to disappear. In addition, individuals begin to have similar views of life regardless of where they live. With the help of computer-mediated communication through such social networks as Twitter, Facebook, and Skype, people begin to have the same views on life, and the cultural differences between people from various countries become less vivid and less important.