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Lack of Context Cues

When reading about the theory's of CMC (Computer mediated Communication) in regards to its inherent differences from face-to-face interaction, I was most interested in the lack of social context cues theory. This theory pertains to online communication and how most, if not all context is lost in internet or text based communication. Not being able to pick up on, or see others non-verbal cues leads people to make assumptions or misunderstand the message being sent. The author notes that in this type of communication exchange, people tend to become, "self-absorbed and less inhibited" (Griffin,138). I have noticed that in emails, Instant messages or text messages. I become much more gutsy than I would in person, often saying things I would never normally say, or saying them in a way that is out of character for me. The author defines this as, "flaming- hostile language that zings its target and creates a toxic climate for relational growth" (Griffin, 139). "Lost in Translation," comes to mind when I think of this theory and virtual communication in general. Many things can be lost in translation from email to email, text to text and so on. A few of the things that can be lost in translation through textual or virtual interactions are: sarcasm, silence, pausing, laughter, a sigh, body language and many other cues that help us communicate better with one another. Don't get me wrong, I do not think virtual communication is all bad, but there are certain things that are better to relay in person than others. You just have to be very aware that misunderstandings are more likely than not to occur. In turn, that awareness will help you to be more clear and ask more questions in order to have a better communication interaction.


  1. hopefully none of what I say is lost in translation but I do know what you mean about being more gutsy in a text or online chat. It's something about the anonymity of it. Even in some cases where you do know the person you are chatting with, sometimes you still can surprise yourself and say things to them that you wouldn't say to them in person. Or if you don't know the person you are chatting with and are getting to know them, who knows what you might have the guts to say that you wouldn't normally say in person.

    I find myself more outspoken in this blogging experience than I have ever been before. Not by much but just a little more.

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  3. I think that CMC can cause some problems if it's not done right. So I can definitely agree with you. I love chatting, writing emails and blogging in this class because I feel like there is no limit to express myself. But there is times when I can't understand what the other person is trying to say. At those times (mostly when I'm in an argument), its hard to interpret the others tone and for me, it usually leads to more arguing. People have said that about me too. I'm a very sarcastic person and some people don't get it and think I'm being mean but I'm really laughing about it (they just can't see me if I'm behind a computer). My theory on CMC is this; use it to say nice things, but if you need to confront someone about something, do it in person or on the phone because for me it seems to cause more drama lol.