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Essay on Nonverbal Cues in Computer-Mediated Communication

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Computer-mediated communication is a ubiquitous feature of modern life. Whether the communication is through Facebook, Twitter, email, instant messaging (IM), or such media as massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs,) the ability for human beings to communicate across time and culture is unprecedented in history. Never before have people been able to communicate so freely with strangers around the world. However, it lacks at least one critical aspect of face-to-face interaction: nonverbal communication. Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to find more and more ways to approximate the nonverbal cues provided by speaking in person.
Nonverbal communication, loosely defined as all parts of communication other than words, is by far the larger source of information when speaking face-to-face with another person (Knapp 5.) These parts include eye contact, facial expression, rate of speech, volume of speech, gestures, posture, clothing, appearance, smell, paralanguage (sounds, sighs,) and even silence.
From the moment we are born, we begin communicating nonverbally. A baby's cry can be said to be nothing more than his way of communicating to his parents without words, and new parents learn quickly how to distinguish a cry of pain from a cry of hunger or one of boredom. A baby becomes very good at encoding meaning in nonverbal cues such as pointing, and his parents become very good at decoding the meaning. The fact that nonverbal communication is important cannot be understated, but computer-mediated communication continues to play a significant role in global interactions, and this will probably not change in the near future.
One of the most widely used forms of computer-mediated communication is email. In t...


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Knapp, M., & Hall, J. (2010). Nonverbal communication in human interaction (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
List of emotes. (n.d.). In WoWWiki. Retrieved June 2, 2011, from http://www.wowwiki.com/List_of_emotes
Lo, S. (2008, October). The nonverbal communication functions of emoticons in computer-mediated communication [Electronic version]. CyberPsychology & behavior, 11(5), 595-597.
Match.com information, statistics, facts, and history. (2011, May 13). In Dating site reviews . com. Retrieved June 2, 2011
Truss, L. (2004). Eats, shoots, and leaves: The zero-tolerance approach to punctuation. New York, NY: Gotham Books.


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