As the U.S. population has increasingly withdrawn into itself, Competence, Presence, Trust, and Hyperpersonal-ness considers the importance of communication technology for helping citizens become socially proficient in ways that transcend digital and physical environments. Experiencing computer-based social platforms as realistic and intimate allows networked social competence to add to interpersonal competence, Bouchillon argues. Trust is shown to benefit, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, he demonstrates that socially distanced individuals replicated their interpersonal lives using technology, and increased their social competence by doing so. Results suggest that society has reached the moment of hyperpersonal-ness, with computer-based social capabilities and feelings of presence being used to develop interpersonal competence and social capital, even in seclusion.
Brandon Bouchillon is assistant professor of journalism at the University of Arkansas.
Part I: Becoming Socially Competent
Chapter 1: More Optimistic Thinking about Social Technology
Chapter 2: Exchanging the Forms of Competence
Chapter 3: The Reciprocating Value of Social Presence
Chapter 4: Transforming Computer-mediated Competence
Part II: Restoring Social Trust
Chapter 5: Competence and Presence for Trusting
Chapter 6: Social Transformance for Trusting
Chapter 7: Competence, Presence, and Trust during COVID-19
Chapter 8: The New Pragmatism
About the Author
From Riesman et al.'s Lonely Crowd to Putnam's Bowling Alone, the crucial question arises about how our culture and our connections with others characterize and change our lives. Bolstered by quantitative survey data, Brandon Bouchillon's Competence, Presence, Trust, and Hyperpersonal-ness examines these and other vital concerns in light of unprecedented changes in our society, from digital communications to the lack of social presence imposed upon us by pandemic. It is an important and revealing lens into the dynamics of how our communication cultivates social capital in, through and despite the challenges to collaboration and mutual trust brought about by contemporary life. If technology has contributed to our social isolation, Bouchillon optimistically envisions ways in which more competent engagement with and through such technology opens up opportunities for transformation and renewal of social bonds and sociability. We are not automatons but we must increasingly communicate through automata--how we decide to negotiate this interaction interface will increasingly define the quotidian quality of our lives. Attention to the issues of social presence, trust, social capital, computers, and competence in communicating are deservedly at the center of Bouchillon's analysis.
This is a very timely investigation of social networking in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic that is wreaking havoc on interpersonal connections. Bouchillon delves deep into complex phenomena such as social competence, social presence, and computer-mediated social interactions. In addition to various theories and concepts of social networking, the book also features a great deal of data analyses of computer-mediated social interactions. This book should be required reading for diverse social science scholars, especially those in journalism, communication studies, and sociology. It is also fascinating reading for those who strive to understand how to stay connected during this unprecedented time.