What is your view in relation to Impersonal, Interpersonal and Hyperpersonal Interaction?

Read this article on Computer Mediated Communication as your source of information. Each will take one segment from the article before discussing your points.

7 thoughts on “What is your view in relation to Impersonal, Interpersonal and Hyperpersonal Interaction?

  1. Impersonal Interaction according to the article by Walther (1996) is merely a communication which requires a task to be completed accordingly with no personal connection via email. Each member involved in the communication has their specific role ie; a boss sends out an email its subordinates and expects the task to be completed on a deadline given and message is delivered in a formal setting. It is termed impersonal as it lacks non-verbal cues which reduces social interactions and emotional information. Moreover, it leads to a monotonous communication among parties involved (Kiesler, 1996). Impersonality is appreciated in the sense that it doesn’t hamper with one’s privacy online as well as it can avoid getting to know too much about others.

    However, after Internet was made available to the public, interaction became more personal as the means and mode of communication were scrutinized with the inclusion of emoji and GIFs. Users started using email not just to send a message but also to share personal information (Walther, Van Der Heide, Ramirez, Burgoon & Peña, 2015), do online transactions, so it became more socially oriented. Additionally, CMC platforms were no longer limited to emails or IRC but evolved to macro and micro blogs, social medias and also media applications like Whatsapp and Line which lead to a myriad of verbal and non-verbal cues in the form of emoji and GIFs.

  2. Based from my readings, I understand that interpersonal communication involved communication between two parties or more (Ismail, 2014). Interpersonal communication is conducted with many purposes including discussion, build relationships, provide feedback, giving clues and information. One thing to take note is that, interpersonal is not only limited to spoken communication, but it can also be in terms of written and non-verbal communication.

    For example, nowadays with the existing of social media, users are more outspoken to express what they feel, like, experiencing and do. The social media has become the new channel for communication. They do not only connect with others through their written post in the social media, but also using emoji, gif, picture and videos. It is another medium of communication where people will relate the message delivered by the sender through the things they posted online. However, this is the weakness of CMC as it will lead to miscommunication and misinterpretation from receiver as it lacks of face to face communication and voice tone. (Perry, 2010).

    • Other than that, mastering interpersonal communication is very important in order to have effective interacting strategy. For example, when people are having a communication between the superior and junior level, there must be a specific of communication which can be said more formal and proper. Whereas, if it is between colleagues or friends, communication interaction will become more informal and communication structure is more relax and direct.

  3. After years of CMC vs FtF communication research, some have found that CMC-rather than being impersonal-can achieve hyperpersonal interaction. Basically, CMC goes beyond the text or screen, and manages to forge an emotional connection between the sender and the receiver. Walther (1996) suggests that there are ways where hyperpersonal interaction happens in CMC, where it exceeds the means of FtF communication.

    1) When you have a certain perception towards the one who you communicate with, that perception tends to inflate when using CMC. According to Lea & Spears (1992), due to the lack of cues and physical attributes to pin on your partner, paralinguistic features present during the CMC exchange will take on more value, specifically those revealing social context cues and personality cues. A process called “overattribution” is also bound to happen, whereby people create stereotypical images of their partners while disregarding things such as typological errors.
    Foull and Faraj also postulated that those with a common goal or background will have a closer interaction-it will be easier to talk to strangers when you share a common interest.
    These are the points made under the social identity deindividuation (SIDE) theory.

    2)The second point made supporting hyperpersonalization is based on Erving Goffman’s theory of self-presentation as a performance to control how people perceive you. As a performer, you choose to display your best qualities and emit the less-desirable ones. In regards to CMC, Walther refers to this as ‘selective self-presentation’. Communicators were not bound to physical attributes and vocal intonations when using CMC,thus people will curate images of one’s personality based on text and its paralinguistic features alone.

    3) Two elements are common in CMC, which are reduced communication cues and asynchronous communication. They play a role in determining how one presents themselves in CMC.
    When one is not physically near to their communicator(s), this reduces the cues by not having them see how you look like. Therefore, you don’t have to spend your energy thinking about how to react accordingly, what your body movement is doing and whether to smile or frown at the right times. That energy can be focused on how you portray yourself through CMC instead. In addition, you don’t have to worry whether or not your appearance will have an effect on how they treat you.

    As for asynchronous communication, it differs from FtF communication where all communicators have to meet at a certain place at a certain time and try to get things done in a restricted time period. Asynchronous communication allows communicators to answer at their own time, where they can spend time to think of answers to their curation.

    4) Intensifying loop
    When communicating back to back, the sender and receiver gives feedback, and any impression and perception they have towards each other results in an intensifying loop. This process is called behavioral confirmation and it basically explains itself; you confirm ones behaviour through your interactions with them, and positive reciprocal responses inflate positive perceptions towards each other, especially with minimal cues. A telecommunication study done by Snyder, Tanke and Berscheid (1977) has shown that the male respondents who were told that they were speaking to an attractive female responded positively, and in turn the female reciprocated likewise. And those who were told that they were speaking to a less-attractive female did not interact as enthusiastically, thus garnered less-than enthusiastic responses from the females. So, in the end, the attractive females were regarded as more attractive after they enthusiastically respond to the males due to how males regard and communicate with them in the first place.

    Walther concludes that self-presentation, idealization and reciprocation is provided by CMC on its platform. According to Schlenker (1985), people like being validated based on the identity they had created online, where it accentuates the best features of oneself. It is rewarding, and as a result, creates a form of hyperpersonal communication not as available through FtF communication.

    • In response to this long, convoluted post, I believe that in this day and age, hyperpersonalization in CMC has evolved from these points made by Walther.

      In terms of overattribution and reciprocation, it is evident in social media sites, where they have become a congregation of people with similar interest. It can be seen for example in a study by Donlan (2017), where users create their identites based around the One Direction fandom, and harbour a sense of relationship centred around the singers. Their mutual interest for the band has made them close to each other, even though in the real world, they are complete strangers. As they discuss their favorite song, for example, they attribute the receiver of their messages to be similar to themselves(their love for 1D), and this creates a cycle of friendship between them. This is one of the effects of hyperpersonalization in CMC.

  4. Interpersonal relation in this context is understood as a very essential concept in order to build successful relationship in one particular organization. It involves a process of sending and receiving information between two or more people varying relational situations, between the employer and employees, or between the lecturer and students, for example both using Face to Face Communication or CMC.

    As Walther states in page 10, “The model assumes that communicators in CMC, like other communicators, are driven to develop social relationships”. This can be related to the current situation whereby various text-based applications and social media platform widely used both in working and study environment. In Malaysia, Whatsapp, Telegram and Facebook are among the most popular applications used to deliver message or share information among the members who belong to that particular organization.

    For instance, in our classes, lecturers prefer to use ‘Group Whatsapp’ to give information regarding the course, while ‘e-learning’ to provide the students with assignments and notes.

    Furthermore, Walther sees that the absence of non verbal cues leads to the rate on how the social information is exchanged. He mentions “The framework acknowledges that there is less social information per message in CMC because of the absence of non verbal cues” (page10). However, in my opinion, even though it is found that there is lack of using verbal cues in CMC, for example in ‘Group Whatsapp’, the members of that particular group can still build the social relationship by the using of emojis, emoticons, GIF, videos and photos. CMC communication also is higher in possibility for the relationship to last long compared to Face to Face communication which only lasts on that particular moment when the talking is taking place.

    • To discuss further, I give an example of situation where two people meet coincidentally at cinema, most likely they will communicate based on what they are doing at that particular moment, maybe about what movie they are going to watch, the casts or the plot and that’s it. Basically, they will exchange common ideas which lasts two to five minute conversation.
      Otherwise, when they communicate through CMC, they will most probably talk about more topics and become friendly. As the result, the social relationship is built based on their interest to know each other closely and of course, the relationship lasts longer. This example is what meant by Walther in context of “participants’ level of interest”.

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