Meeting Online Friends Offline: A comparison of South Korean and U.S. College Students' Differences in Self-Construal and Computer-Mediated Communication Preferences

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Book Chapter

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This chapter investigates the link between cultural and individual differences in relation to both the preferences of computer-mediated communication users who are accessing such utilities as Web-based chat services, instant messaging, e-mail, and Internet bulletin boards, and the creation of extended personal relationships in online and offline contexts. A survey was conducted to explore how members of different cultures use the Internet while interacting online. Respondents included 106 students from a large eastern university in the United States and 111 students from a midsize university in South Korea. Data indicated that members of an interdependent self-construal group were more likely than members of an independent self-construal group to post opinions on an Internet bulletin board. Moreover, interdependent group members were more likely than independent group members to have friends who they met online, and their online intimacy was more likely to extend to offline meetings. Results shed light on online activity that has been mostly ignored by cross-cultural communication researchers but embraced by practitioners.