Over the last few decades, people’s means and styles of communication have changed dramatically. Nowadays, communications mediated through computers and phones have become one of the essential ways to exchange information. It has certain advantages that will be mentioned further. However, it can affect and even harm interpersonal communication in various ways. To avoid this harm, people have to be aware of the risks and rules of social-mediated communication.
Social-mediated communication has obvious advantages: it allows for quicker information exchange and exchange over vast distances. For example, Wrench et al. (2020) talk about synchronous communication that allows people to exchange messages in real time, “like they would in a face-to-face (FtF) interaction” (p. 410). However, social-mediated communication also has some disadvantages, for example, a lack of non-verbal communication (Wrench et al., 2020). Communicating through a phone or a computer does not allow one to see another person’s facial expression, gestures, and so on, which may result in a wrong interpretation of a message.
People’s social-mediated communication style differs depending on their real-life relationships. For example, when communicating with a person who they do not know well, people tend to be more thorough and not to be misunderstood. On the opposite, they are expected to send shorter and less complicated messages to someone they know well since that person is already familiar with their communication style and is more likely to interpret their message correctly. Another example of how social-mediated communication affects people’s communication style is the increased aggressiveness encouraged by anonymity.
In many ways, social-mediated communication and society are interdependent and affect each other. One of the ways social-mediated communication affects society is expressed in social information processing theory. It argues that long-term online relations can become as strong as real-life relations (Wrench et al., 2020). That may change a societal structure by allowing people to form new links over bigger distances and potentially change people’s perception of society.
People’s past social-mediated communications affect their communication style, the words they choose, and the thing they decide to say or not to say. When posting on social media, I consider who may read it and how those people can react to my post, whether they may get offended, and so on. As for netiquette, the rules I use most often are being polite and concise.
Wrench, J. S., Punyanunt-Carter, N. M., & Thweatt, K. S. (2020). Interpersonal Communication: A Mindful Approach to Relationships. Milne Library Publishing.