Communication is an act that involves sharing and developing meaning between persons or groups. The shared meaning makes use of a common language, symbols, and signs. These conventions vary between different species and technologies. Mediated communication refers to a form of communication that makes use of a communication medium between the recipients of the information and the senders. The communicative chain uses the sender of data, encoding, transmission, decoding, and receiving of the message. Most forms of mediated communication make use of technological gadgets. These include phones, computers, and robotics gadgets (Burholt et al. 1209). Computer-mediated communication is the most common form of mediated communication.
Social Issues in Mediated Communication
Mediated communication came about in the previous century when alternative modes of communication came up. These include telephones, telegrams, and even letters. The technological forms of mediated communication promoted a sense of success in that they connected people in obscure parts of the world. However, the aim to end geographical distancing and the tool for promoting interactions across the globe served to streamline trade, the welfare of people in diverse regions, and prompt care for people who needed it (Wang 47). However, mediated communication has also led to a change in how day-to-day communication and social interaction occur.
The use of this form of communication has acted as a replacement for face-to-face contact for most people. It has promoted a sense of loneliness, and it has helped people living in different regions who may harbor similar interests to meet and interact.
Electronic communication has allowed for an aspect of social anonymity whereby one can use a preferred alias and identity to depict themselves how they want to be seen. The negative effect of this is the phenomenon of catfishing, while it also promotes self-acceptance and acts as a go-between when shyness and other social challenges inhibit interaction (Yao and Ling 5). The mediated communication has promoted immature behavior such as the lack of accountability among communicating individuals, the inability to process social cues with other individuals, and the formation of new relationships based on the communication pattern and anonymity instead of physical proximity and appearance (Bae 328). It allows for stereotype reduction and increases individuals’ social influence on specific platforms based on their online persona.
Technology and Mediated Communication
The use of technology in mediated communication is often known as technology-mediated communication. This form of communication is controlled and facilitated by the use of technological gadgets and tools. These include; robotics applications, smartphones, video conferencing, and messaging platforms. This form of communication acts as a bridge between the different groups and individuals. The social aspects of mediated communication were improved using technology-mediated contact (Dienlin et al. 82). The use of technology in mediated communication has been referred to as the death of distance.
The aspect of technological incorporation has also subjugated the negative aspects of mediated communication. The transmission of voice and video has prompted more communicators to understand verbal cues better and promote distance learning. Technology-mediated communication has also allowed for collaborations across the globe via video and voice platforms that allow for the effective transfer of information. It has, however, led to isolation and loneliness as mammals value and crave touch and social interactions regularly. Day-to-day communications are unlikely to generate the warmth and familiarity of social interactions.
Computer-mediated communication is the most common form of mediated communication today. It makes use of the internet. This is a network of computers that can communicate under orders from their users to receive and transmit information for all users. The use of networking technologies is an efficient way to promote communication and interaction in various social groups. This form of communication commonly uses technologies such as; Internet relay chat, email services, and software. The CMC platforms save both time and money for communicators, and these also enable users to send a constant stream of correspondence at any time.
The synchronous and asynchronous form of computer-mediated communication comes into play depending on the nature of the correspondence; for formal communication, which is not urgent, an email would suffice, while the more urgent forms use instant messaging services (Liao et al. 99). This form of communication uses chatrooms and message groups that can be equivalent to addressing a group of individuals gathered at one place (Burholt et al. 1203). The key features that distinguish CMC from other communicative forms include saving time and money, allowing for effective record keeping, and enabling user anonymity.
Benefits of Mediated Communication
Mediated communication has both positive and negative implications. The positive attributes have been accentuated in the past paragraphs as we explored the meaning and characteristics of the different forms of mediated communication. The aspect of mediated communication has thus been proven to be necessary and beneficial in the following ways. These are; the disregard for time and place when communication needs come up (Dienlin et al. 75). The element of more inclusive and self-paced learning has resulted from massive online open courses, which are a form of communication for the purpose of education. The users can reach out to a large number of persons concurrently. It allows for the management and safeguarding of information based on correspondence between persons.
Challenges in Mediated Communication
The use of mediated communication is a refined form of interaction. However, it may inhibit the communications aspects that are reliant on face-to-face interaction. The challenges that limit the effectiveness and the use of mediated communication include the following; the rich nature of in-person communication is replaced with screens and voice or written communication. Physical cues of the communicating parties are held back by the limitation of only accessing the communicator’s faces or voices. It may promote oversharing on anonymous platforms where one is unlikely to access help while leading communicators to limit themselves in situations where they communicate with well-known persons (Burholt et al. 1206).
Mediated communication promotes social ills where one can use anonymity to bully or intimidate other users of these platforms. Communication is greatly affected by the lack of technological advancements in certain regions of the world, such as developing nations. The communication modes are expensive to keep up with and introduce a wide range of unknown dynamics to the world of communication.
The incorporation of mediated communication is essential to progress in the new world. It exists in many forms, but the most common form is a computer or technology-based mediation. This form of communication makes use of technological gadgets to limit geographic dispersion and bring people together. It may aid new communications where shyness may inhibit effective communication. However, this form of communication may also enhance laziness, and loneliness and lead to a loss of the essential bits of humanity.
This is because many people prefer this form of indirect communication to face-to-face meetings, and this thus causes a low propensity to share information effectively in person and promotes oversharing when using gadgets. Mediated communication is a gift meant for necessary interactions and should be avoided in cases where in-person gatherings are possible.
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Burholt, Vanessa, et al. “Technology-mediated communication in familial relationships: Moderated-mediation models of isolation and loneliness.” The Gerontologist, vol. 60, no. 7, 2020, pp. 1202-1212.
Dienlin, Tobias, et al. “Reinforcement or displacement? The reciprocity of Ftf, IM, and SNS communication and their effects on loneliness and life satisfaction”. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol. 22, no. 2, 2017, pp. 71-87.
Liao, Wang et al. “Unpacking medium effects on social psychological processes in computer-mediated communication using the social relations model.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol. 23, no. 2, 2018, pp. 90-106.
Wang, Zuoming. “Anonymity effects and implications in the virtual environment: From crowd to computer-mediated communication.” Social Networking, vol. 07, no. 01, 2018, pp. 45-62.
Yao, Mike Z, and Rich Ling. “‘What is computer-mediated communication?’—An introduction to the special issue”. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol. 25, no. 1, 2020, pp. 4-8.