The Hyperpersonal Model Of Online Communication

1880 Words 8 Pages
Interpersonal relationships sit at the heart of the human condition. Much of human existence is motivated through communication with others, including the need to connect with others in meaningful ways. Sometimes, these connections manifest as friendships; in other situations, these connections become romantic. In the twenty-first century, humans have more opportunities and technologies available to them to make connections than ever before, particularly as more people turn to the Internet for social connections (Ansari and Klinenberg, 2015; Caplan, 2003; Caplan, 2005).
Mobile dating applications are at the forefront of developing interpersonal connections. As of November 2016, the dating application Tinder had 50 million active daily users.
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It has since been updated (Walther, 2006) to further understand the changing communication patterns associated with increased online options, including email and social media profiles. The hyperpersonal model breaks online communication into four parts: receiver, sender, channel, and feedback. This model takes into account that online communication does not have the same affordances as offline communication. There are no body language cues, vocal cues, or other physical cues for a receiver to interpret from a sender (Walther and Parks, 2002). Instead, receivers of online communication, whether in the form of a sent message or a viewed online profile, fill in the holes of the communication themselves (Walther, 2006). A key prediction of the hyperpersonal model is that receivers will interpret online communication with positive ideas about the sender. Essentially, with the loss of face-to-face cues, receivers will idealize the sender of the message because other cues are lacking or not present (Walther, Ramirez, Burgoon, and Peña, 2015). This is further aided by the sender who, in an online setting, can take time to craft messages that reveal the best possible version of that individual (Walther, 2006; Walther et al., 2015). Additionally, channel features and the online feedback …show more content…
These include email interactions (Duthler, 2006), profile views, and chat interactions (Walther, 2006); the hyperpersonal model has even been used to understand viewing of online dating profiles (Hancock and Toma, 2009). Yet the model has not been applied to social media applications at length, particularly in the asynchronous but regular conversational messaging they enable (Walther et al., 2015). Online dating applications such as Tinder allow for one of the first applications of the hyperpersonal model to a true back-and-forth communication and would further the literature in understanding potential boundary conditions of the model. Adding the lens of destiny theory would demonstrate an additional boundary condition, in that it could be seen where negativity intersects with the positivity assumptions of the

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