SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

This study addresses the implications of interpersonal communication technology use for personal relationships. Elements of an impression management model, which specifies the processes and outcomes of strategic uses of channel and message for self-presentational goals, are tested. Respondents indicated their preference for interpersonal communication channels (telephone, answering machine, electronic mail, letters) in 4 types of episodes involving issues that either supported or threatened their own or their partner's self-presentation. Findings supported the hypotheses predicting that individuals recognize mediated channels' capacity to manage ambiguity and clarity in interactional episodes and use those perceptions in forming their channel preferences. The constrictions of mediated channels are often seen as advantageous for interactions that could threaten positive impressions. The results support a functional perspective that views mediated communication channels as a tool for managing self-relevant information in pursuit of self-presentational goals.