Social interactions across media: Interpersonal communication on the Internet, telephone and face-to-face
Baym, Nancy K.
Zhang, Yan Bing
Scholarly/refereed, author accepted manuscript
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Two studies were conducted in this investigation to compare college students’ interpersonal interaction online, face-to-face, and on the telephone. Our first study, a communication diary, assessed the relative amount of social interactions college students conducted via the internet in comparison to face-to-face conversations and telephone calls. Results indicated that the internet was used nearly as often as the telephone, however, face-to-face communication was far more frequent. The second study, a survey, compared participants’ reported use of the internet within their local and long distance social circles to the use of other media within those circles, and examined participants’ most recent significant social interactions conducted online, face-to-face, and on the telephone in terms of purposes, contexts, and quality. Results indicated that online interaction was perceived as high in quality, but slightly lower than telephone calls and face-to-face conversations. In addition, participants’ estimated use of the internet was positively correlated with the use of other modes of interpersonal communication. Together, results showed that the internet was integrated into social life, but face-to-face remained the dominant mode of interpersonal communication.
Author final draft doi:10.1177/1461444804041438
Baym, N., Zhang, Y. B., & Lin, M.-C. (2004). Social interactions across media: Interpersonal communication on the Internet, telephone and face-to-face. New Media & Society, 6, 41-60. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1461444804041438
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