filizefe's blog

Extra-Credit Reading (week 8)

Posted in Uncategorized by filizefe on February 20, 2009

Instant Messaging vs. E-mail

Olivine Wai-Yu Lo and Louis Leung in their article “Effects of Gratification-Opportunities and Gratifications-Obtained on Preferences of Instant Messaging and E-mail among College Students” compare the use of instant messaging vs. e-mail grounded on uses and gratifications perspectives. They particularly interested in why college students prefer instant messaging instead of e-mailing.

Below is the comparison chart that I made, which shows the basic characteristics of “e-mail” and “instant messaging” as computer mediated communication (CMC) types, by using the article as a source:

e-mail

instant messaging (IM)

text-based messages and limited size of multimedia sharing

Different forms of messaging such as webcam, talk, any size of multimedia sharing

asynchronous

synchronous

two or more people but NOT in real-time conversation

two or more people and in real-time conversation

NO presence: knowing if peers are available online

presence: knowing if peers are available online + a visible list of other online friends

Waiting time

NO waiting time:  i.e. pop-up mechanism

NO moods

Different mood views of  online availability + emoticons

allows reviewing

NO detailed reviewing

Optional to contact a person immediately or later

consecutive conversation

 

The exceptional features of instant messaging provide a greater array of gratification-opportunities to the audience. According to uses and gratifications theory, people choose certain media according to particular gratifications. Gratification-opportunities reflect the attributes of media. The competing feature of media is users’ time. The synchronous and the multi-function features of instant messaging offer more gratification-opportunities than e-mail.

In conclusion,

1-      Gratification-opportunities are powerful CMC predictors of preference between IM and e-mail.

2-      Reciprocal gratifications of peers make IM more popular among specific groups.

3-      IM usage preference is significantly related to sociability because IM is more spontaneous in terms of receiving feedback and knowing if peers are available online.

4-      Socially anxious individuals may find e-mail and IM easier than face-to-face communication and the use of emoticons enhance understanding when contextual information is lacking.

5-      Male students tend to show a higher level of IM use.

Source

Lo, O.W and Leung L. (2008). Effects Of Gratification-Opportunities and Gratifications-Obtained on Preferences of Instant Messaging and E-mail among College Students. Telematics and Informatics, Retrieved February 19, 2009, from doi:10.1016/j.tele.2008.06.001 

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  1. […] Filiz – (EC) Instant Messaging v E-mail […]


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