The Internet has become an integral part of our lives. Online communication or CMC is one of the fastest growing modes of communication for individuals within and between organisations. We use CMC for social, educational, and business purposes (Mohan, 2008). Features of CMC will be presented and discussed in section 1. CMC is also used in online games, especially multi-player ones, as a powerful and effective way to enable the intense need of interaction. Computer games as an application domain is one of the most influential promoters of interactive applications. Neutral Ground which will be disgussed in section 2, is one key point of CMC in games. In general, the feeling of presence and the level of psychological immersion are increased due to the communication, co-ordination and collaboration aspects these forms bring forward. Manninen (2004).
Features of computer-mediated communication
“Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is a process in which human data interaction occurs through one or more networked telecommunication systems. ” Cory Janssen(2010)
In humans’ history, we have used many different means to communicate with each other. Face to face speaking, letter writing, telegram, and telephone are just a part of examples of different media that we use. Computer mediated communication (CMC) is the latest one that arised. It could be carried out through e-mail, listserves, usenet groups, chat rooms, MUDs, or MOOs. Because of all of these different modes of communication by way of computers, Steve Jobs labels them "interpersonal computers" rather than "personal computers" .Walther, J. B., & Burgoon, J. K. (1992). Apparently, there are many factors of CMC that cause it to be different from face to face (FtF) communication, and it has been debated whether or not these differences render the communication more or less personal. “Some of these aspects of CMC are the absence of context cues, the recordability of conversation, the rate of exchange, the level of formality, and the anonymity of the users. The main controversy surrounding CMC is whether these differences can help to improve communication and make it more personal, or whether they serve to diminish the level of intimacy that can be achieved.” Rick Dietrich, Jill Grear, & Amber Ruth(1998). According to Walther & Burgoon(1992), the absence of social context cues, called the Cues Filtered Out Approach, is a major distinction that separates CMC from face to face communication. Because participants cannot see others' facial expressions, gestures, voice intonations, appearance, or physical adornments; it is harder to interpret statements and responses they might make. For instance, communicating by emails has been a frequently-used means to connect to someone whoever he/she is your friend or a totally stranger. It is impossible for the sender to see the receiver in person while writing the email. Therefore, no feedback can be received while delivering the message. Joseph Walther(1992) of Northwestern University explains this phenomenon by the Social Presence Theory, which contends that the personal nature of a relationship is determined by the salience of the participants. Because CMC has this lack of non-verbal elements or feedback cues, participants are less able to get to know the person with whom they are conversing, thus leading to a less personal conversation. Also, according to this theory, people pay less attention to the other participants because their interest can be absorbed elsewhere without the presence of the other person to restrain them. Walther & Burgoon(1992). However, many studies have showed that, these effects of the Cues Filtered Out Approach are restricted to only the beginning period of a CMC relationship. When studies are extended to examine longer amounts of time, it has been observed that many of these impersonal aspects disappear as participants exchange a greater number of messages. It seems...
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