Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-rkxrd Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-19T03:30:44.659Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

9 - A juxtaposition of social influences

Web 2.0 and the interaction of mass, interpersonal, and peer sources online

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2011

Zachary Birchmeier
Miami University
Beth Dietz-Uhler
Miami University
Garold Stasser
Miami University
Get access


Contemporary web-based communication technologies often present a juxtaposition of multiple sources. In January of 2009, for instance, and partnered so that internet users could see and hear President Barack Obama's inauguration in one window, and read and write comments about it with myriad other viewers in another window. presents not only videos but also the comments that viewers have posted about the video. supports individuals’ self-descriptive information online, but also “wall postings” by a profile owner's friends, which may enhance, modify, or contradict the self-presentations individuals attempt to make. Sellers on eBay advertise goods online, and other buyers’ ratings of those sellers are a click away. Travel sites offer hotel listings alongside ratings and reviews by previous guests. And in addition to the overt comments and statements left online by people, the computational systems supporting these interactions often provide interesting statistical coefficients summarizing the evaluations or even the electronic footprints users leave behind: How many people rated a product evaluation as useful? How many times has a viral video been viewed, or a journal article been downloaded? How many friends does an individual have on Facebook? In all of these cases, there is a central message, and there are socially generated responses. How do these mutual sources of influence affect users?

New communication technologies are changing the manner of reception by which individuals acquire information from institutional, interpersonal, and peer information sources. Technology changes the temporal and contiguous presentations of these sources, and may in fact change the information processing and social influence dynamics among these sources; that is, the sequence with which sources are sampled or the simultaneity with which they appear may have potent effects on the information processing filters and biases. Such developments in communication technologies are raising new questions and resurrecting old questions about the interplay of interpersonal and mass communication. New technologies blur the boundaries between interpersonal and mass communication events and/or the roles that communicators take using new systems. Arguments have been made that the “convergence” of old and new media demands new and unified perspectives on traditionally segregated processes. “Media convergence” is a term that has been used to connote several phenomena that are brought about by advancements in telecommunication technology that may change some aspect of the communication process. Sometimes the term refers to the blending of previously individuated mass media: one can watch movies on one's computer, for example. We wish to discuss another kind of convergence: the potential for simultaneous communication via computers of both mass and interpersonal channels. Additionally, new and salient sources of information are present, and potentially influential, via contemporary online information systems: peer communication and computational summaries of social behavior. How these forms and sources of information coalesce, confirm, or contradict one another asks for conceptual and analytic frameworks to address them. New technologies invite research that will advance understanding of how individuals conceptualize communication and interpret messages, and how their attitudes are changed as a result of new mediated message forms and content.

Strategic Uses of Social Technology
An Interactive Perspective of Social Psychology
, pp. 172 - 194
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Atkin, C. K. 1972 Anticipated communication and mass media information-seekingPublic Opinion Quarterly 36 188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Atkin, C. K. 1973 Instrumental utilities and information-seekingClarke, P.New models for communication research205Beverly Hills, CASageGoogle Scholar
Berger, C. R.Chaffee, S. H. 1988 On bridging the communication gapHuman Communication Research 15 311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berger, C. R.Chaffee, S. H. 1989 Levels of analysis: An introductionBerger, C. R.Chaffee, S. H.Handbook of communication science143Newbury Park, CASageGoogle Scholar
Caplan, S. E. 2001
Cappella, J. N. 1989 Interpersonal communication: Definitions and fundamental questionsBerger, C. R.Chaffee, S. H.Handbook of communication science184Newbury Park, CASageGoogle Scholar
Chaffee, S. H. 1986 Mass media and interpersonal channels: Competitive, convergent, or complementaryGumpert, G.Cathcart, R.Inter/media: Interpersonal communication in a media world62New YorkOxford University PressGoogle Scholar
Clark, R. A.Delia, J. C. 1979 and rhetorical competenceQuarterly Journal of Speech 65 187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
David, C.Cappella, J. N.Fishbein, M. 2006 The social diffusion of influence among adolescents: Group interaction in a chat room environment about antidrug advertisementsCommunication Theory 16 118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Edwards, C.Edwards, A.Qing, Q.Wahl, S. 2007 The influence of computer-mediated word-of-mouth communication on student perceptions of instructors and attitudes toward learning course contentCommunication Education 53 255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gibbs, J. L.Ellison, N. B.Heino, R. D. 2006 Self-presentation in online personals: The role of anticipated future interaction, self-disclosure, and perceived success in internet datingCommunication Research 33 152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Glynn, C. J.Park, E. 1997 Reference groups, opinion intensity, and public opinion expressionInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research 9 213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Graham, J.Argyle, M.Furnham, A. 1980 goal structure of situationsEuropean Journal of Social Psychology 10 345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gumpert, G.Cathcart, R. 1986 Inter/media: Interpersonal communication in a media worldNew YorkOxford University Press
Hargittai, E. 2002 7
Heider, F. 1958 The psychology of interpersonal relationsNew YorkWileyCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Herring, S. C.Martinson, A. 2004 Assessing gender authenticity in computer-mediated language use: Evidence from an identity gameJournal of Language and Social Psychology 23 424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Katz, E. 1957 The two-step flow of communication: An up-to-date report on an hypothesisPublic Opinion Quarterly 21 61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Katz, E.Lazarsfeld, P. 1955 Personal influenceNew YorkThe Free PressGoogle Scholar
Kelly, K.Edwards, R. 1992 Observations: Does discussion of advertising transform its effects? Yes…sometimes – A case among college students and their response to anti-drug advertisingJournal of Advertising Research 32Google Scholar
Lazarsfeld, P.Berelson, B. R.Gaudet, H. 1944 The people's choiceNew York/LondonColumbia University PressGoogle Scholar
Lee, E.-J.Jang, J.-W.Kim, M.-J. 2009 Interpersonal interactivity in online journalism: What do readers’ comments on internet news sites tell us?Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Communication AssociationChicagoGoogle Scholar
Levy, S. 2007 40
Lull, J. 1980 The social uses of televisionHuman Communication Research 6 197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Metzger, M. J. 2006 Effects of site, vendor, and consumer characteristics on web site trust and disclosureCommunication Research 33 155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Metzger, M. J.Flanagin, A. J.Medders, R. B. 2010 60
Metzger, M. J.Flanagin, A. J.Zwarun, L. 2003 College student web use, perceptions of information credibility, and verification behaviorComputers in Education 41 271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miller, H. 1995 The presentation of self in electronic life: Goffman on the internetPaper presented at Embodied Knowledge and Virtual Space conference, Goldsmiths’ College, University of LondonLondonGoogle Scholar
Newhagen, J. E.Rafaeli, S. 1996 Why communication researchers should study the internet: A dialogueJournal of Communication 46 4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nielsen, J. 1999 Designing web usability: The practice of simplicityThousand Oaks, CANew Riders PublishingGoogle Scholar
O’Reilly, T. 2005
O’Sullivan, P. B. 1999 Bridging mass and interpersonal communication: Synthesis scholarship in HCRHuman Communication Research 25 569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O’Sullivan, P. B. 2005 Masspersonal communication: Rethinking the mass interpersonal dividePaper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication AssociationNew YorkGoogle Scholar
Papacharissi, Z. 2002 The self online: The utility of personal home pagesJournal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 46 346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Papacharissi, Z.Rubin, A. M. 2000 Predictors of internet useJournal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 44 175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parks, M. R. 2007 Personal networks and personal relationshipsMahwah, NJLawrence Erlbaum AssociatesGoogle Scholar
Pingree, S.Wiemann, J. M.Hawkins, R. P. 1988 Editor's introduction: Toward conceptual synthesisHawkins, R. P.Wiemann, J. M.Pingree, S.Advancing communication science: Merging mass and interpersonal processes7Newbury Park, CASageGoogle Scholar
Postmes, T.Spears, R.Lea, M. 1999 Social identity, normative content, and “deindividuation” in computer-mediated groupsEllemers, N.Spears, R.Doosje, B.Social identity: Context, commitment, content164OxfordBlackwellGoogle Scholar
Reardon, K. K.Rogers, E. M. 1988 Interpersonal versus mass media communication: A false dichotomyHuman Communication Research 15 284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reicher, S.Spears, R.Postmes, T. 1995 A social identity model of deindividuation phenomenaEuropean Review of Social Psychology 6 161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Resnick, P.Zeckhauser, R.Friedman, E.Kuwabara, K. 2000 Reputation systemsCommunications of the ACM 43 45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rogers, E. M.Shoemaker, F. F. 1971 Communication of innovationsNew YorkFree PressGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sassenberg, K.Boos, M. 2003 Attitude change in computer-mediated communication: Effects of anonymity and category normsGroup Processes & Intergroup Relations 6 405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schutz, W. C. 1966 The interpersonal underworldPalo Alto, CAScience and Behavior BooksGoogle Scholar
Southwell, B. G.Torres, A. 2006 Connecting interpersonal and mass communication: Science news exposure, perceived ability to understand science, and conversationCommunication Monographs 73 334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sundar, S. S.Nass, C. 2001 Conceptualizing sources in online newsJournal of Communication 51 52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thompson, R.Murachver, T.Green, J. 2001 Where is the gender in gendered languagePsychological Science 12 171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tong, S. T.Van Der Heide, B.Langwell, L.Walther, J. B. 2008 Too much of a good thing? The relationship between number of friends and interpersonal impressions on FacebookJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13 531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Trenholm, S. 1999 Thinking through communication: An introduction to the study of human communicationNeedham Heights, MAAllyn and BaconGoogle Scholar
Vanden Boogart, M. R. 2006
Walther, J. B. 1996 Computer-mediated communication: Impersonal, interpersonal, and hyperpersonal interactionCommunication Research 23 3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walther, J. B. 2007 Selective self-presentation in computer-mediated communication: Hyperpersonal dimensions of technology, language, and cognitionComputers in Human Behavior 23 2538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walther, J. B.Carr, C.Choi, S.DeAndrea, D.Kim, J.Tong, S. T.Van Der Heide, B. 2010 Interaction of interpersonal, peer, and media influence sources online: A research agenda for technology convergencePapacharissi, Z.A networked self: Identity, community and culture on social network sites17New YorkRoutledgeGoogle Scholar
Walther, J. B.DeAndrea, D.Kim, J.Anthony, J. 2010 The influence of online comments on perceptions of anti-marijuana public service announcements on YouTubeHuman Communication Research 36 469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walther, J. B.Gay, G.Hancock, J. T. 2005 How do communication and technology researchers study the internetJournal of Communication 55 632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walther, J. B.RamirezJr., A. 2009 New technologies and new directions in online relatingSmith, S. W.Wilson, S. R.New directions in interpersonal communication research264Newbury Park, CASageGoogle Scholar
Walther, J. B.Van Der Heide, B.Hamel, L.Shulman, H. 2009 Self-generated versus other-generated statements and impressions in computer-mediated communication: A test of warranting theory using FacebookCommunication Research 36 229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walther, J. B.Van Der Heide, B.Kim, S.Westerman, D.Tong, S. T. 2008 The role of friends’ behavior on evaluations of individuals’ Facebook profiles: Are we known by the company we keepHuman Communication Research 34 28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walther, J. B.Van Der Heide, B.Tong, S. T.Carr, C. T.Atkin, C. K. 2010 The effects of interpersonal goals on inadvertent intrapersonal influence in computer-mediated communicationHuman Communication Research 36 323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Warren, J. R.Hecht, M. L.Wagstaff, D. A.Elek, E.Ndiaye, K.Dustman, P. 2006 Communicating prevention: The effects of the keepin’ it REAL classroom videotapes and televised PSAs on middle-school students’ substance useJournal of Applied Communication Research 34 209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wenner, L. A. 1976 Functional analysis of TV viewing for older adultsJournal of Broadcasting 20 77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wiemann, J. M.Hawkins, R. P.Pingree, S. 1988 Fragmentation in the field – and the movement toward integration in communication scienceHuman Communication Research 15 304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wittenbaum, G. M.Hollingshead, A. B.Botero, I. C. 2004 From cooperative to motivated information sharing in groups: Moving beyond the hidden profile paradigmCommunication Monographs 71 286CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats