Social Information Processing Theory - Essay Example

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Name Class October 6, 2013 Theory: Social Information Processing Theory (Walther) Word Count: 1471 Joseph Walther’s Social Information Processing Theory opposes some of the assumptions of Social Presence Theory and Media-Richness Theory about the capacity of computer-mediated communication (CMC) in generating meaningful communication and interconnections…
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Download file to see previous pages Media-Richness Theory agrees with Social Presence Theory because it classifies CMC as incapable of expressing rich verbal and non-verbal cues. Walther differs in opinion to these theories because he believes that, as long as sufficient social messages are exchanged and subsequent relational growth is attained, CMC can also produce close relationships. Walther proposes the Social Information Processing Theory which states that through CMC, people exchange interpersonal information, form impressions, and decide how to use these impressions to form or not form close interpersonal relationships. Social Information Processing Theory helps understand how I formed close relationships with people in my G+ communities, specifically Elena and Hermie. I have recently been active in G+ communities, especially those involved in health and fitness. Walther is right to say that even if CMC does not present exactly the same cues as face-to-face communication, online users compensate by using cues that are available to them. Cues refer to a wide range of verbal and non-verbal impressions that are not always directly stated but rather personally observed. Impression formation, according to Social Information Processing Theory, refers to the formation of mental images about other people. When I interconnect with my G+ community members, my impression from them is formed through what they share with our community, whether they are words, or words with images, or any article, blog entry, images, and videos that say something about their ideas, beliefs, practices, and aspirations. From reading and seeing these expressions of themselves, I can form impressions of their personalities. For instance, Elena, one of my Health community members, is the same age as I am, but she studies in India. She is overweight and very much interested in losing weight through changing her lifestyle and mindset about beauty and health. I know her goals through my interactions with her through our community and the health news and health changes she shares with us. Hermie is older, 55 years old, and she lives in the U.S., but, like Elena, she is into healthy and natural living. I like her because her posts are funny and inspiring. She shares inspirational messages and stories from other people and herself through our G+ communities. I understand the personalities of Hermie and Elena through the direct information we share with one another and form impressions about them through these online interactions. In turn, people who are in my G+ communities can also generate impressions about who I am through my own posts on the communities and on my own G+ account. For instance, when I share something about the benefits of virgin coconut oil and how it can be used for different health purposes, others who view my posts will understand that I am the kind of person who wants and prefers natural products over commercial ones. Elena, for instance, once wrote to me that she has been wanting to find something natural to help her lose weight and that since she saw my post on virgin coconut oil, she thinks that drinking two tablespoons of it every day has helped her break her weight plateau. From there, we continuously interact to get different kinds of information from one another. These kinds of information may be personal knowledge and experiences, or any form of sharing that we get from our communities. Social Information Processing ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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