The intensive development of information and communication technologies leads today to changes in the character of interpersonal contacts. The researchers pay much attention to the discussion of online communication’s effects on the progress and effectiveness of face-to-face communication. Online communication with the help of new technologies, devices, and gadgets is effective to support not only contacts with friends but also business activities. From this point, online communication cannot be discussed as an alternative variant of contacting in order to avoid face-to-face communication. In spite of the fact that many people choose to interact online in order to save such their resources as time, the progress of online communication cannot be discussed as threatening for the personal interactions and the progress of people’s relations.
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Online communication contributes to the improvement of personal interactions because those people who choose the usage of the Internet resources to add to their everyday face-to-face communication with friends and relatives focus on more intimate self-disclosure. This approach stimulates the development of closeness between the communicating persons. Thus, Valkenburg and Peter state that “the strict separation between online and offline contacts no longer exists” (Valkenburg and Peter 268). As a result, it is important to focus not on the progress of online communication realized at the expense of personal contacts, but on the increased openness and trust between friends and relatives.
The question of trust should be discussed with references to the issue of equality met during face-to-face or online communication. Online communication stimulates face-to-face contacts instead of breaking them because people choose the Internet platforms and resources “to incorporate the ideology of dialogue-oriented communication, eliminating the strict role separation between communicator and recipient and allowing, at least in theory, interlocutors in the Internet to face each other as equals” (Bekmeier-Feuerhahn and Eichenlaub 339). Thus, people discuss themselves as equal and they can trust each other when their verbal messages reflected with the help of online communication are similar (Bekmeier-Feuerhahn and Eichenlaub). These feelings of trust and equality contribute to the progress of following face-to-face contacts.
The problem is in the fact that online communication can become a real threat to the person’s face-to-face contacts and socialization processes when “symptoms of compulsive Internet use” are observed (Eijnden et al. 655). However, the focus on the advantages of online communication to support the contacts in the real world can be helpful to cope with the negative consequences of the persons’ dependence on online communication (Valkenburg and Peter). Those people who choose the Internet as the tool to expand their real world or real life networks and to improve their formal or business communication have more good opportunities to receive a lot of benefits or gain more profits from online communication.
Online communication as a specific method of verbal exchange is an additional tool to help persons establish and develop their personal contacts. From this point, it is necessary to concentrate on the idea of online communication as beneficial for the progress of the persons’ social interactions instead of emphasizing the weaknesses of the process. Today, online communication adds to personal contacts without breaking the real-life ties between people. That is why, the Internet is necessary to improve the personal face-to-face communication, making it more open and equal.
Bekmeier-Feuerhahn, Sigrid and Angelika Eichenlaub. “What Makes for Trusting Relationships in Online Communication?” Journal of Communication Management 14.4 (2010): 337-355. Print.
Eijnden, Regina, Gert-Jan Meerkerk, Ad Vermulst, Renske Spijkerman, and Rutger Engels. “Online Communication, Compulsive Internet Use, and Psychosocial Well-Being Among Adolescents: A Longitudinal Study”. Developmental Psychology 44.3 (2008): 655–665. Print.
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Valkenburg, Patti and Jochen Peter. “Preadolescents’ and Adolescents’ Online Communication and Their Closeness to Friends”. Developmental Psychology 43.2 (2007): 267–277. Print.