College students in multimedia relationships: Choosing, using, and fusing communication technologies
18 pages. TESOL Working Papers series 2.
This paper examines a population of residential American college students and how they integrate communication technologies—namely, landline and mobile telephones, email, and instant messaging—with conventional face-to-face communication to form “multimedia relationships.” Primary research investigates the use of different modes of communication in an environment typified by choice, where all members of the population have relatively equal access to technology and the Internet in particular. Increasingly in technology-entrenched societies (like the United States), relationships cannot simply be categorized as “online” or “offline.” Looking at Internet applications as just one facet of daily communication, the author suggests that mediating technologies provide new ways to experience communication, constituting distinct realms of interaction. She discusses potential difficulty in integrating such complex and varied communicative experiences, and offers suggestions for future research.