An Important Issue in Computer Mediated Communication: Flaming

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An Important Issue in Computer Mediated Communication: Flaming

An Important Issue in Computer Mediated Communication: Flaming

Eileen Paek

University of Houston: COMM 4378

September 16, 2017

An Important Issue in Computer Mediated Communication: Flaming

        

Communication in the modern day most often times includes some sort of technology. Whether it is by texting with a cellphone or sending an email, these types of communication in an advanced for of communication called computer-mediated communication or simply, CMC. CMC is a type of communication or interaction among people that occurs through the use of computers (Thurlow, Lengel, Tomic, 2004 ). CMC can occur through various programs of technology, such as email, instant message (IM), group forums, or even a comment on a post in social media. There are many benefits and advantages to CMC’s; however, it is inevitably prone to “flaming”.

Flaming can be described as hostile and aggressive interactions in CMC that one person has written to intentionally hurt another (Thurlow, Lengel, Tomic, 2004). These interactions may involve profanity, harsh insults, or obscenity, and may result in invoking certain negative emotions to the receiver. There are often many debates in CMC’s, which makes flaming inevitable. However, unlike face-to-face debates,  the flamers do not physically interact, and sometimes like to stay anonymous. Flaming is prone to be more common in some areas of CMC rather than others (Thurlow, Lengel, Tomic, 2004). For instance, although flaming on email is possible; it is more common on group forums where anonymous users can openly attack one another and involve themselves in a heated debate. Research shows that staying anonymous when online, may not only give the user a sense of freedom, but also reduces any barriers of reticence and feelings of culpability to the recipients (Douglas, McCarty, 2001).