Major and Classification
Business Administration and Minor in Web Design
Lanita Jacobs, Ph.D.
Marshall School of Business
“Social Media and its Influence on Interpersonal Communication Relationships”
Today’s Web Technologies are allowing humans to communicate in ways that are having a profound impact on and drastically redefining interpersonal communication. Cues, norms, behaviors, words, protocols, etc., all the dynamics involved in interpersonal communication, are now taking place in cyberspace via Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Blogs, Online Chat Forums, etc. More research is needed to understand these new cyberspace interpersonal communication dynamics. Interpersonal communication is fundamental in human interactions, particularly in enhancing understanding, insights, civility, tolerance, and survival in cases where danger is present. To better understand cyberspace interpersonal communication, this investigation uses interviews and surveys with a population that is well connected with social media. A total of 22 participants from a university in Southern California were recruited for the study (students, staff, alumni, faculty). Preliminary findings indicated that while online interpersonal development mirrors in many ways in-person interpersonal development, there are new cues, strategies, vocabulary, and behaviors taking place, which can be understood and appreciated by keeping in mind the technology used, the rapid speed at which such communication is taking place, and the individual nature of the communication (alone in some environment yet connected online with one or more individuals). “Friends,” “Communities,” “Networks,” etc. have taken on new meaning and shape online. Both positive and negative elements are found in analyzing today’s cyberspace interpersonal communication. The benefits include the vast choices available, large amount of information, and different networks, as well as the speed of such online interactions and its convenience. On the negative side, there are concerns over personal and family privacy issues, as well as the fear of connecting with unfavorable individuals or sources without really knowing the person or entity behind the online portrayal. The research continues, with the goal of doubling the project’s sample size (or at least involve 30 participants). Findings will continue to be analyzed and emerging specific themes and general insights will be reported in the near future.