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Keystroke diplomacy: beats being there.

People may want face time with their elephants, but when they try interacting with human beings different from themselves, virtual is better, argue two Israel-based researchers in The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (April 2006). Revisiting the "contact hypothesis"--the hoary idea that personal contact between individuals of different groups is the best way to reduce conflict--Katelyn Y. A. McKenna and Yair Amichai-Hamburger argue that online meetings score higher than real ones on every measure that's thought to contribute to fruitful interaction: apparent equality, absence of social status signifiers such as clothes or jewelry, intimacy, and voluntary participation. "The Internet" they conclude, "may be said to provide opportunities for a successful contact that are superior to those provided in a traditional face-to-face meeting." That could be, though you wonder if they've wandered into the blogosphere--or tried online dating.

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Publication:The Wilson Quarterly
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:90ASI
Date:Sep 22, 2006
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