Impression Formation in Computer-Mediated Communication and Making a Good (Virtual) Impression

Impression Formation in Computer-Mediated Communication and Making a Good (Virtual) Impression

Jamie S. Switzer
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-893-2.ch008
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In face-to-face interactions, people generally form impressions by focusing on a variety of nonverbal cues. Increasingly, however, people are communicating virtually and forming impressions based on mediated interactions. In an online environment, the range of nonverbal cues that normally aid in impression formation is drastically narrowed. In the absence of these nonverbal cues, forming impressions via computer-mediated communication places a greater emphasis on verbal (text-based) and linguistic cues. This chapter offers strategies to ensure virtual workers make a good impression on their clients and colleagues when interacting online.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Impression Formation: Creating an opinion or mental image of somebody or something.

Linguistic Communication: Interacting and gleaning information using language, both verbal and textual.

Stereotype: Where a society or culture recognizes characteristics of an individual or group of people as representing an entire category.

Impression Management: The process by which individuals attempt to control others’ perceptions of them, motivated by the desire for social acceptance and relationship development and maintenance.

Nonverbal Communication: Interacting and gleaning information not using words but by using cues taken from actions such as vocal patterns, linguistic markers, body posture, gestures, and eye contact.

Working Virtually: Interacting and communicating to achieve set goals or tasks using information and communication technologies, not in a face-to-face manner.

Computer-Mediated Communication: Interaction that takes place through or is facilitated by mediating technologies, such as a computer.

Paralinguistic Cues: Typographical marks and other textual features that have no lexical meaning per se, but the meanings are dependent on group or individual contexts.

Exemplar: A specific individual that a person has encountered, who is then taken as a representative of others who are thought to be in that same category.

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