Kai Jonas, Margarete Boos and Kai Sassenberg

Unsubscribe, Pleeezz!!!: Management and Training of Media Competence in Computer-Mediated Communication

CyberPsychology & Behavior

Computer-mediated communication (CMC) has created a new communication divide. Mostly, this division is due to technical and access problems. Overlooked is yet another divide in terms of user communication competence. This contribution focuses on media competence based on theories about communication competence and theories about CMC. Two field studies are presented: an analysis of a virtual seminar chat communication (22 participants, 3 weeks' duration) and an analysis of unsubscribe-failures within 2 years of a German mailing list (average of 1,000 subscriptions). Data from both studies reveal that help-seeking CMC users with low media-specific competence experience setbacks in terms of interpersonal relations and information gathering. There is a spiral of neutral to negative reactions and an increase in stress and aggression-related language in the reaction of the addressed peers. From the perspective of external raters, we found a contraintuitive result: The style, content, and wording of the message of the respondent is considered as an indicator for a less competent and socially attractive person behind the follow-up message than those of the initial message. On the one hand, media experts are needed and appreciated as technical problem-solvers; on the other hand, they might be perceived as socially narrow-minded freaks who are less interested in the task itself than in CMC-based task completion. This leads to the question of how sensibility for the social context, task orientation, and media competence can be combined (and trained for) in one person. Two competence trainings for text-based synchronous and asynchronous communication are introduced as interventions. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Accession Number: 7303524; Source Information: Aug2002, Vol. 5 Issue 4, p315; Subject Term: TELEMATICS; Subject Term: PERFORMANCE; Subject Term: ; Number of Pages: 15p; ; Illustrations: 2 Charts; ; Document Type: Article;