Interpersonal Communication

Talking, listening, exchanging information and sharing ideas are all things we do in our everyday normal communication with our family, friends, and neighbors, even co-workers. Joseph De Vito as describes interpersonal communication, “Communication between two persons or among a small group of persons, as distinguished from public or mass communication; communication of a personal nature, as distinguished from impersonal communication; communication between or among connected persons or those involved in a close relationship. ” (De Vito, 2007, p. )

Within the nature of communicating come various mediums including face- to- face communication, paper correspondence & computer-mediated communication (CMC). CMC has various methods of information exchange. These methods include e-mail, instant messaging, and text messaging. Text messaging or “texting” has affected the way we communicate in daily routine in a massive way. Text messages are short written messages electronically sent and received by electronic handheld devices such as personal digital assistants with wireless communication, pagers, cell phones and even email.

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This form of communicating is exploding among all ages but is most used by “those in the 13-17 age group which are sending or receiving an average of 1,742 text messages a month” (www. mobilemessaging2. com/2008/10/29/notable-quotable-text messaging-statistic). Yet, this form of instant communication is not only being utilized by the young, but in the age groups of 18-24 and 25-34 the use is skyrocketing. It’s estimated that 7. 3 billion text messages are sent via cell phones within the U. S. every month. The messages can range from “ what’s for dinner? ” “Where are you? “I’ll be right there” to “I quit”, “Don’t call or text me again”, “Its over” and even the extreme “there’s been an accident”.

It’s a discreet and simple way to stay connected to your romantic partner, they provide on the spot communication for employees, give parents a direct link to their kids any time of the day or night in addition to expanding the opportunities to increase your personal productivity. Texting was the means for voting for American Idol and helped Ruben Studdard win the title in 2005. “Fans In the U. S. cast 2. 5 million votes for their favorite idol via mobile- phone messages during the show’s second- season finale. (www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,660984,00. html) I use texting to stay in contact with casual friends, exchange information with my family about dates, lunch or dinner time, give group notices to my cheerleaders, send messages to parents of cheerleaders, discuss things with my husband, set up appointments with my girlfriends and networking in general. The number of text messages I personally send and receive daily averages 100 each. There is a debate on the usefulness and effectiveness of text messaging, but I find it to be an excellent way to streamline your communication and to stay connected with people.

Texting is mostly dyadic but also can be useful to get information out to a group of people. Does texting eliminate opportunities for face-to-face interactions? Does it limit proper social response? Does it encourage inappropriate use of language grammar and spelling? The answer to all of these questions may be yes. The values added to text messaging just may outweigh the negatives in the overall picture. Less time waiting for a phone call or talking on the phone, quicker person-to-person contact and more opportunities for communication to take place. Most people are social and crave interaction with others.

This form of instant messaging helps satisfy those needs by keeping us in touch. So long as this form of communicating does not completely deteriorate verbal speech as well as confrontational and presentational skills. Digital banter of this sort cannot supplant face-to-face communication. Text messaging can change the faces of conflict resolution and self-disclosure. Interpersonal conflict is inevitable and is a part of every interpersonal relationship. The way you deal with the conflict is what makes the difference in the end. Many people may find dealing with conflict easier through this medium.

My marriage has benefited from texting. During difficult times it has been easier to send a text message, getting an idea out rather than saying it verbally and waiting to see a reaction. An exclamation or all caps, which are used to express excitement or emphasis, are easier to handle than yelling or loud voices. There is a disinhibition effect that takes place in CMC thanks to the invisibility of digital banter. One doesn’t have to look into the eyes of the one whom you are delivering bad news to, see a person’s upper lip tremble, hear a voice quiver, or see the expression on the face of the one whom is being hurt on the other end.

This can affect your interpersonal perception. There is also irreversibility in texting in conflict. Once a text message has been sent it cannot be taken back. It is in print being read by the recipient. “Interestingly enough, one study found that participants in computer- mediated communication used more direct strategies to reduce uncertainty and to elicit disclosures than they did in face-to-face encounters, which resulted in their judging the CMC conversations as more effective. ” (Tidwell & Walter, 2002) This is a true statement found evident in my own life.

I have been able to disclose through a text message things that I could not in a face-to-face situation. This also runs the same for self-disclosure. The ability to connect with someone and communicate with them in a dyad in texting, makes us feel security that enables us in most cases to continue and develop a reciprocity. Many feel that things can be said through text that would or could not in a face-to-face encounter. I use my text messaging in my mentoring relationships. Texting to encourage, listen, help and guide teenage girls.

They know that when they are in a situation they can send me a quick message that says, “Can you help? ” or “What should I do? ” This allows me a way wherever I am or whatever I’m doing to send a quick response. My daughter is eleven years old and she is about to get her first cell phone. We both want to have the option of reaching the other when we aren’t together. The days when she says, “Mom, can I walk home today? ” or “I have a leadership club meeting after school”. The parents of cheerleaders & I communicate through text weekly to answer questions regarding our activities or their daughter.

This is a big help for me in that don’t have unnecessary meetings that could be handled through a quick Q & A. “What time do I pick up Tiffany from practice? ” and “Am I scheduled to work in your booth today? ” Are simple questions that I appreciate using text answering. Can this mode of communicating hinder what we all strive to attain? We are all looking to be connected to each other to someone. In this generation of quick, quicker, quickest, the face of communication is evolving at warp speed. 85% of all teens communicate through text. As long as we do not lose the personal intimate connection that is vital for our future.

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