Social Influence and Computer Mediated Communication

Social Influence and Computer Mediated Communication

Bradley M. Okdie (The University of Alabama, USA) and Rosanna E. Guadagno (The University of Alabama, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-863-5.ch035
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Abstract

This chapter examines contemporary research in computer-mediated communication (CMC) with regard to a specific question: How does attempting to influence individuals via CMC affect the social influence process? Over the past 15 years, the use of the Internet has shifted from an exhaustive information store, to another means with which to create and maintain group and individual social relationships (Postmes, Spears, & Lea, 2002). As a result, individuals engage in social influence via CMC. This chapter focuses on persuasion via instant messaging (synchronous text-based CMC) and e-mail (asynchronous text-based CMC) from two theoretical perspectives: dynamic social impact theory (Latané, 1996) and social role theory (Eagly, 1987). The findings of these two lines of research speak to the differences in the persuasion process when using CMC as well as individual differences such as gender of the interactants. Implications for research on computer mediated communication and social influence are discussed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Web 2.0: A term often applied to a perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of Web sites to a full-fledged computing platform serving web applications to end users. Ultimately Web 2.0 services are expected to replace desktop computing applications for many purposes.

Gender: The state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones)

Computer Mediated Communication (CMC): Any form of communication between two or more individual people who interact and/or influence each other via separate computers through the Internet or a network connection—using social software; any form of communication in which computers are directly involved at both ends.

Social Role Theory: A theory suggesting that most behavioral differences between males and females are the result of cultural stereotypes about gender (how males and females are supposed to act) and the resulting social roles that are taught to young people.

Computer Mediated Communication (CMC): Any form of communication between two or more individual people who interact and/or influence each other via separate computers through the Internet or a network connection—using social software; any form of communication in which computers are directly involved at both ends.

Dynamic Social Impact Theory (DSIT): An individual level theory that predicts how cultures emerge and change at the group level. It predicts that in spatially distributed groups four phenomena will occur as a result of social influence: clustering, correlation, consolidation, and continuing diversity.

Catastrophe Theory of Attitudes (CTA): A theory that predicts when and how attitudes are likely to change by accounting for both linear and nonlinear attitude change. It predicts that information is the normal factor and involvement is the splitting factor such that differing levels of involvement will produce differing attitude change characteristics.

Web 2.0: A term often applied to a perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of Web sites to a full-fledged computing platform serving web applications to end users. Ultimately Web 2.0 services are expected to replace desktop computing applications for many purposes.

Gender: The state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones)

Catastrophe Theory of Attitudes (CTA): A theory that predicts when and how attitudes are likely to change by accounting for both linear and nonlinear attitude change. It predicts that information is the normal factor and involvement is the splitting factor such that differing levels of involvement will produce differing attitude change characteristics.

Dynamic Social Impact Theory (DSIT): An individual level theory that predicts how cultures emerge and change at the group level. It predicts that in spatially distributed groups four phenomena will occur as a result of social influence: clustering, correlation, consolidation, and continuing diversity.

Social Role Theory: A theory suggesting that most behavioral differences between males and females are the result of cultural stereotypes about gender (how males and females are supposed to act) and the resulting social roles that are taught to young people.

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