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'IM Me': Instant Messaging as Relational Maintenance and Everyday Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  Instant Messaging, Page 13 individuals adjust to the medium (Walther, 1992). This suggests that CMC and FtF may be functionally equivalent with respect to fostering the continuance of ongoing personal involvements. In the present study, we examine this claim in the context of everyday interactions and their role in relational maintenance (Duck, Rutt, Hurst, & Strejc, 1991). Duck and colleagues (1991) propose that relationships are maintained through not only strategic behavior but also, and potentially more importantly, routine interaction. Unlike their strategic counterpart, routine interactions are comprised of mundane, relatively trivial, everyday behaviors that individuals engage in without much conscious thought but are intrinsically valuable to the sustenance of relationships. It is this type of interaction that Duck and colleagues argue make up most communication episodes in ongoing relationships and create a “rhetorical vision,” or impression of the relationship and the type of future that can be expected for it (Duck, 1994). From this perspective, routine interaction creates, defines, reflects, and recreates the manner in which partners view their relationship through its mere occurrence. Accordingly, different types of relationships are expected to reflect rhetorical visions that are unique to them: the rhetorical vision associated with a friendship should not be the same as that for a romantic relationship which should diverge from that of a family relationship and so forth. Thus, it would be expected that routine interactions would differ as a function of the individual with whom they are conducted and the type of relationship that exists between partners. In a series of studies, Duck et al. (1991) examined these expectations within the context of FtF interaction and reported several significant differences related to individual, relational, and contextual factors. “Everyday talk” was assessed according to four characteristics: the quality and value of the communication, change resulting from the communication, and the control of the interaction. The results indicated that females rated their interactions higher in

Authors: Ramirez, Artemio. and Broneck, Kathy.
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Instant Messaging, Page 13
individuals adjust to the medium (Walther, 1992). This suggests that CMC and FtF may be
functionally equivalent with respect to fostering the continuance of ongoing personal
involvements. In the present study, we examine this claim in the context of everyday interactions
and their role in relational maintenance (Duck, Rutt, Hurst, & Strejc, 1991).
Duck and colleagues (1991) propose that relationships are maintained through not only
strategic behavior but also, and potentially more importantly, routine interaction. Unlike their
strategic counterpart, routine interactions are comprised of mundane, relatively trivial, everyday
behaviors that individuals engage in without much conscious thought but are intrinsically
valuable to the sustenance of relationships. It is this type of interaction that Duck and colleagues
argue make up most communication episodes in ongoing relationships and create a “rhetorical
vision,” or impression of the relationship and the type of future that can be expected for it (Duck,
1994). From this perspective, routine interaction creates, defines, reflects, and recreates the
manner in which partners view their relationship through its mere occurrence. Accordingly,
different types of relationships are expected to reflect rhetorical visions that are unique to them:
the rhetorical vision associated with a friendship should not be the same as that for a romantic
relationship which should diverge from that of a family relationship and so forth. Thus, it would
be expected that routine interactions would differ as a function of the individual with whom they
are conducted and the type of relationship that exists between partners.
In a series of studies, Duck et al. (1991) examined these expectations within the context of
FtF interaction and reported several significant differences related to individual, relational, and
contextual factors. “Everyday talk” was assessed according to four characteristics: the quality
and value of the communication, change resulting from the communication, and the control of
the interaction. The results indicated that females rated their interactions higher in


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