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  • Cited by 5
  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

3 - Gendered social interactions in face-to-face and computer-mediated communication

Summary

Overview: This chapter addresses the differences between computer-mediated communication (CMC) and non-computer-mediated, face-to-face communication (FTFC) with respect to gendered interactions by focusing on the consequences of the absence of visual cues. The conclusion based on the present evidence suggests that gender differences do not increase or decrease in CMC compared to FTFC, but in both modes of communication they mainly occur in settings where stereotypes are evoked. This supports the gender-in-context approach, implying that most differences between men and women in social behavior are evoked in a stereotypic context. The absence of visual cues in CMC has little impact on many gender differences in social interaction, but may affect the way in which men and women communicate emotions.

Introduction

Traditionally, computers and everything related to computers were perceived to belong to the masculine domain (Kirk, 1992). However, with the expansion of the internet, and the widespread use of computers in various forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC) (email, chatting, videoconferencing, or social networking sites, such as Hyves, Facebook, and Twitter), we have witnessed an increase of female participation in the virtual world, resulting in more or less equal participating of both sexes. Indeed, there is even evidence that in some contexts women judge CMC more favorably than men do (e.g., Allen, 1995; Hiltz and Johnson, 1990). For example, women consider emailing more effective and easier to use than men, and women seem to be more satisfied with online discussions than men are.

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