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Relationship Equals Sum Media Use: Examining Relationships as Media Ecologies
Unformatted Document Text:  Relationship Equals Sum Media Use 13 Conclusion and Hypotheses It may be interesting to suggest (Cappella, 1992) or propose in abstract terms (Foulger, 2002) a theoretical perspective that might provide continuity between such diverse traditions as interpersonal communication, organizational communication, and mass media. It is probably more useful, however, to show how application of the theoretical perspective can help to clarify issues within one or more of those perspectives. It is hoped that, in showing how relationships may be characterized and shaped by the media in which they are enacted, that this paper has made a practical contribution to future research. This exploration of how media might elucidate the nature of relationships is, at best, a starting point. Real research will be required before it can be known if the perspective will bear its promised fruit. Towards that end, we close by posing, without additional discussion, a set of testable hypotheses that have been suggested here: • It is possible to characterize different kinds of relationships by the collection of media the relational partners share and the ways in which those media are used. • Different stages in the evolution of a relationship can be characterized by the collection of media the relational partners share and the ways in which those media are used. o The collection of media associated with a relationship should grow larger as the relationship intensifies. o The collection of media associated with a relationship should shrink as the relationship wanes o Relationships need different kinds of media at different stages of development. o Specific kinds changes in a relationship’s media profile can be correlated with significant relational events, including living together, engagement, marriage, and the arrival of children). o Media that meet the same relational needs can be substituted for one another without harming the relationship • There will be cultural variations in the collection of media associated with different kinds of relationships based on the range of media available and variations in the needs that media are used to satisfy. • The importance of a medium to a relationship is dependent on the purpose it serves or served in the relationship and other issues, including primacy, repetition, and the use of scripted behavior.

Authors: Foulger, Davis.
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Relationship Equals Sum Media Use
13
Conclusion and Hypotheses
It may be interesting to suggest (Cappella, 1992) or propose in abstract terms (Foulger,
2002) a theoretical perspective that might provide continuity between such diverse
traditions as interpersonal communication, organizational communication, and mass
media. It is probably more useful, however, to show how application of the theoretical
perspective can help to clarify issues within one or more of those perspectives. It is hoped
that, in showing how relationships may be characterized and shaped by the media in
which they are enacted, that this paper has made a practical contribution to future
research. This exploration of how media might elucidate the nature of relationships is, at
best, a starting point. Real research will be required before it can be known if the
perspective will bear its promised fruit. Towards that end, we close by posing, without
additional discussion, a set of testable hypotheses that have been suggested here:
It is possible to characterize different kinds of relationships by the collection of
media the relational partners share and the ways in which those media are used.
Different stages in the evolution of a relationship can be characterized by the
collection of media the relational partners share and the ways in which those
media are used.
o
The collection of media associated with a relationship should grow larger
as the relationship intensifies.
o
The collection of media associated with a relationship should shrink as the
relationship wanes
o
Relationships need different kinds of media at different stages of
development.
o
Specific kinds changes in a relationship’s media profile can be correlated
with significant relational events, including living together, engagement,
marriage, and the arrival of children).
o
Media that meet the same relational needs can be substituted for one
another without harming the relationship
There will be cultural variations in the collection of media associated with
different kinds of relationships based on the range of media available and
variations in the needs that media are used to satisfy.
The importance of a medium to a relationship is dependent on the purpose it
serves or served in the relationship and other issues, including primacy, repetition,
and the use of scripted behavior.


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