Social information processing theory
Joseph Walther has fostered a theory where he tries to explicate how we react to other people’s text-based messages, which filter out most non-verbal cues, as opposed to face-to-face communication. Examples of these text-based messages would be Sms, e-mail and instant messaging. This is called Computer-mediated communication (CMC). Walther called his theory Social information processing (SIP). There already existed a range of theories covering the difference between CMC and face-to-face communication before Walther showed up with SIP. With his theory he tries to explain why relationships can grow just as strong within CMC as with face-to-face communication. I am going to apply his theory to some of my own CMC experiences and also dig deeper into why CMC works just as good as any communication form.
When i was in my “Tweens” i used to instant-text-message a lot through a computer program called MSN. On this program this program i had a lot of contacts. “Everyone” was using it, at least all the people in my rather tiny social-circle. The process of getting new contacts was easy, you just typed in the wanted persons e-mail address and clicked “add” and if the wanted person then accepted the contact request you could instantly communicate through text-messaging with each other. Most of my contacts were friends and family, but there were also a special feature within the program were you could request to get all the contacts from one of your existing contacts, and hence get a lot of unknown people on your contact list. Because you had almost no idea who the people were, except from the name and a small picture, it was intriguing to start the questioning. This is where Walther wants to defeat the 90’s skepticism for CMC. The questions ask would go something like this: “Hi, who are you?” then the answer and then “Who gave you my contact information?”, and then a normal...