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Face-to-Face Interaction is a social communication carried out without any mediating technology.[1] It is defined as the mutual influence of individuals’ direct physical presence with his or her body language.[2][3] In Social System, it is one of the basic elements, forming a significant part of individual socialization and experience gaining throughout one's lifetime.[4] Similarly it is also central to the development of various groups and organizations composed of those individuals.[4] With face to face interaction, not only does it allow you to communicate better by seeing the other persons physical presence but it also improves mental health and can help reduce the risk of depression and other illnesses.[5]

Studying face-to-face interaction

Most research and studies on face-to-face interactions are done by observing interactions among others; the goal is to explore and explain the regularities in the actions within these observed interactions.[6] The study of face-to-face interaction is concerned with issues such as its organization, rules, and strategy. The concept of face-to-face interaction has been of interest to scholars since at least the early 20th century.[7] One of the earliest social science scholars to analyze this type of interaction was sociologist Georg Simmel; in his eyes, he believed the term "society" was used to represent a number of individuals intertwined by various interactions. In his 1908 book, he observed that sensory organs play an important role in interaction, discussing examples of human behavior such as eye contact.[7] His insights were soon developed by others, including Charles Cooley and George Herbert Mead.[7] Their theories became known as symbolic interactionism; and have since opened the door to a variety and wide range of other theories.[8] Symbolic interactionists are more concerned with subjective meaning rather than objective structure; they focus on how individuals interpret subjective meaning, which leads them to understand how that individual views the world as well as how the repetition of meaningful interactions among individuals is the groundwork to define the formation of society.[9] By the mid-20th century, there was already a sizable scholarly literature on various aspects of face-to-face interaction.[7] Works on this topic have been published by scholars such as Erving Goffman[10] and Eliot Chapple.[7]

Advent of mediated communication

Historically, mediated communication was much rarer than face-to-face.[11] Even though humans have possessed the technology to communicate in space and time (e.g. writing) for millennia, the majority of the world's population lacked the necessary skills, such as literacy, to use them.[11] This began to change with the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg that led to the spread of printed texts and rising literacy in Europe from the 15th century.[11] Since then, face-to-face interaction has begun to steadily lose ground to mediated communication.[11]

Compared with mediated communication

Face-to-face communication has been however described as less preferable to mediated communication in some situations, particularly where time and geographical distance are an issue.[12] For example, in maintaining a long-distance friendship, face-to-face communication was only the fourth most common way of maintaining ties, after telephone, email, and instant messaging.[13]

Despite the advent of many new information and communication technologies, face-to-face interaction is still widespread and popular and has a better performance in many different areas. Nardi and Whittaker (2002) pointed that face-to-face communication is still the golden standard among the mediated technologies based on many theorists,[12] particularly in the context of the media richness theory where face-to-face communication is described as the most efficient and informational one.[14][15] This is explained because face-to-face communication engages more human senses than mediated communication.[16] Face-to-face interaction is also a useful way for people when they want to win over others based on verbal communication,[17] or when they try to settle disagreements.[18] Besides, it does help a lot for teachers as one effective teaching method.[19] It is also easier to keep a stronger and more active political connection with others by face-to-face interaction.[20]

In the end, there are both pros and cons to each form of communication. Several studies compared the two groups in order to determine the advantages and disadvantages of each. One group was communicating only through face-to-face communication, while the other was communicating only through computer-mediated communication. These studies found that computer-mediated groups perform better than face-to-face groups on idea generation tasks, while face-to-face groups excel in social emotional exchange; this is because face-to-face groups have more tension release and agreement statements, while computer-mediated groups have a tendency of giving more suggestions, opinions, and formal expressions.[21] There is a greater equality of participation in computer-mediated groups, but there's also a higher rate of uninhibited behaviour because computer-mediated groups induce a greater loss of self-awareness.[22] There is generally a reduced sense of social pressure in computer-mediated groups, but there is a stronger perception and sense of understanding in face-to-face groups.[23]

Face-to-face interactions versus social media

Talking to someone face to face gives a person non-verbal cues, such as smiling, swinging limbs, and body positions, that help people communicate. But because social media lacks this kind of face-to-face communication, people have adapted to blind communication when speaking online.[24]

Humans are naturally social animals, and socializing and interacting with others is essential to their survival. With advances in technology, the Internet, instant messaging, and smartphones, many channels and ways to interact with others. However, the human brain has evolved to adapt and keep up with this flood of communication. While face-to-face communication predicted improved quality of life, Internet communication did not.[25] While the Internet opens a new realm of possibilities in connecting with people around the globe, there are inherent factors in online communication at any one time that limit its ability to promote the same level of satisfaction as traditional face-to-face communication. There are many significant differences between online and face-to-face communication, leading to online communication being less emotionally satisfying and fulfilling than face-to-face communication. Reasons include: Online socializing requires time for offline interactions; Online networking requires time for offline interaction; Online interaction can promote passive participation; Nonverbal cues are not easy to distinguish.[26]

Overall, face-to-face interaction promotes higher-quality interactions than online communication. While technology has been able to bring communities and people closer together, humans have a responsibility to cultivate those connections and nurture them through old-fashioned face-to-face communication. As a human species, continuing to connect with others without hiding behind electronic screens is crucial.       

Cross multicultures

Although there are increasingly virtual communications in large transnational companies with the development of Internet, face-to-face interaction is still a crucial tool for employees to cooperate or negotiate with each other.

Cooperation in a multicultural team requires knowledge sharing. Ambiguous knowledge which arises frequently in a multicultural team is inevitable because of the different language habits. Face-to-face communication is better than other virtual communications for the ambiguous information. The reason is that face-to-face communication can provide non-verbal messages including gestures, eye contact, touch, and body movement. However, the virtual communications, such as email, only have verbal information which will make team members more misunderstanding of the knowledge due to their different comprehension of the same words. On the other hand, the understanding of professional standards shows no difference between face-to-face interaction and virtual communications.[27]

Van der Zwaard and Bannink (2014) examined the effect of video call compared with face-to-face communication on the negotiation of meaning between native speakers and non-native speakers of English.[28] Face-to-face communication can provide individuals who use English as the second language both intentional and unintentional actions which could enhance the comprehension of the chat in English.[28] Besides, individuals are more honest in understanding when they are in face-to-face interaction than in video call due to the potential loss of face issues for the non-native language speakers during the video call. So as a result, face-to-face interaction has a more positive influence on the negotiation of meaning than virtual communications such as the video call.[28]

References

  1. ^ D. David J. Crowley; David Mitchell (prof.) (1994). Communication Theory Today. Stanford University Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-8047-2347-3. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  2. ^ Goffman, Erving (1980) [1959]. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor Books: A Division of Random House, Inc. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-385-094023. [(]face-to-face interaction) may be roughly defined as the reciprocal influence of individuals upon one another’s actions when in one another’s immediate physical presence
  3. ^ Janet Sternberg (2012). Misbehavior in Cyber Places: The Regulation of Online Conduct in Virtual Communities on the Internet. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-7618-6011-2. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  4. ^ a b Adam Kendon; Richard Mark Harris; Mary Ritchie Key (1 January 1975). Organization of Behavior in Face-To-Face Interaction. Walter de Gruyter. p. 357. ISBN 978-90-279-7569-0. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Face-to-Face Social Contact Reduces Risk of Depression | Psychology Today Canada". www.psychologytoday.com. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  6. ^ Key, Mary Ritchie (1980). The Relationship of Verbal and Nonverbal Communication. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-90-279-7637-6.
  7. ^ a b c d e Kendon, Adam; Harris, Richard M.; Key, Mary Ritchie (1975). Organization of Behavior in Face-to-face Interaction. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-90-279-7569-0.
  8. ^ Demeulenaere, Pierre (2011-03-24). Analytical Sociology and Social Mechanisms. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-139-49796-1.
  9. ^ Carter, Michael (2015). "Symbolic Interactionism". sociopedia.isa.
  10. ^ Goodwin, Marjorie Harness (1990). He-said-she-said: Talk as Social Organization Among Black Children. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-20618-3.
  11. ^ a b c d Jeffrey K. Olick; Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi; Daniel Levy (2011). The Collective Memory Reader. Oxford University Press. p. 349. ISBN 978-0-19-533741-9. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  12. ^ a b Bonnie A. Nardi; Steve Whittaker (2002). "The Place of Face-to-Face Communication in Distributed Work". In Pamela J. Hinds; Sara B Kiesler (eds.). Distributed Work. MIT Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-262-08305-8. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  13. ^ Kevin B. Wright; Lynne M. Webb (2011). Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships. Peter Lang. p. 236. ISBN 978-1-4331-1081-8. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  14. ^ Kevin B. Wright; Lynne M. Webb (2011). Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships. Peter Lang. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-4331-1081-8. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  15. ^ Bernard Perron; Mark J.P. Wolf (12 November 2008). The Video Game Theory Reader 2. Taylor & Francis. p. 337. ISBN 978-0-203-88766-0. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  16. ^ Jorge Reina Schement; Brent D. Ruben (1 January 1993). Between Communication and Information. Transaction Publishers. p. 436. ISBN 978-1-4128-1799-8. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  17. ^ Jean C. Helms Mills; John Bratton; Carolyn Forshaw (2006). Organizational Behaviour in a Global Context. University of Toronto Press. p. 369. ISBN 978-1-55193-057-2. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  18. ^ Stephen Emmitt; Christopher Gorse (7 September 2006). Communication in Construction Teams. Taylor & Francis. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-203-01879-8. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  19. ^ Trevor Kerry (26 August 2010). Meeting the Challenges of Change in Postgraduate Education. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-4411-8469-6. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  20. ^ Peter J. Burnell (2011). Promoting Democracy Abroad: Policy and Performance. Transaction Publishers. p. 181. ISBN 978-1-4128-1842-1. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  21. ^ Bordia, Prashant (1997-01-01). "Face-to-face versus computer-mediated communication: a synthesis of the experimental literature". The Journal of Business Communication. 34 (1): 99–121.
  22. ^ Bordia, Prashant (1997-01-01). "Face-to-face versus computer-mediated communication: a synthesis of the experimental literature". The Journal of Business Communication. 34 (1): 99–121.
  23. ^ Bordia, Prashant (1997-01-01). "Face-to-face versus computer-mediated communication: a synthesis of the experimental literature". The Journal of Business Communication. 34 (1): 99–121.
  24. ^ "How social media is changing the way people get to know one another | Penn State University". www.psu.edu. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  25. ^ Lee, Paul S. N.; Leung, Louis; Lo, Venhwei; Xiong, Chengyu; Wu, Tingjun (February 2011). "Internet Communication Versus Face-to-face Interaction in Quality of Life". Social Indicators Research. 100 (3): 375–389. doi:10.1007/s11205-010-9618-3. ISSN 0303-8300. S2CID 144489320.
  26. ^ Psychminds (2020-04-13). "Communication: Online vs. Face-to-Face Interactions". Psychminds. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  27. ^ Klitmøller, Anders; Lauring, Jakob (2013). "When global virtual teams share knowledge: Media richness, cultural difference and language commonality" (PDF). Journal of World Business. 48 (3): 398–406. doi:10.1016/j.jwb.2012.07.023. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  28. ^ a b c van der Zwaard, Rose; Bannink, Anne (2014). "Video call or chat? Negotiation of meaning and issues of face in telecollaboration". System. 44: 137–148. doi:10.1016/j.system.2014.03.007.

Further reading