An Investigation Into a Computer-aided Intimate Friendship Between Filipino Students and their Foreign Friends: Towards an Emerging Cross-cultural Communication


Edgar R. Eslit

PhD defended at: 

Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT)


Modern technology has enriched our perspectives on how people communicate and establish intimate online friendship across cultural boundaries. With the emergence of Computer-aided Communication (CAC), new concepts towards understanding the meaning of relationship maintenance, interdependence, commitment and relationship barriers in a Cross-cultural communication situation have emerged. Others may find the use of modern communication technology dynamic while others find it artificial. Because of this, issues and concerns relating to the parameters of its use and how it affects friendship in the context cross-cultural communication are opening all kinds challenging ideas for researchers all over the globe to explore. Hence, this study ventured into investigating the Computer-aided intimate friendship between Filipino students and their foreign friends: Towards an emerging Cross-cultural communication. Cultural Dimension, Relational Maintenance, and CAC theories served as primary theoretical backbones for this research. As this research was qualitative in nature, methodologies used include in-depth interviews and focus group discussion (FGD) which was voluntarily participated by Filipino college students and their intimate online foreign friends. Results showed that informants utilized practical relationship maintenance strategies. Unlike Canary and Stafford (2002) however, another three notable relationship maintenance strategies came to the surface. These are Material and financial support, Cyber-sensual activity and Constant and regular communication through CAC. Such strategies profoundly created strong interdependence and commitment that help broke certain relationship barriers between and among the collectivist and individualist informants. Further, informants convincingly explicated seven (7) online interaction practices that magnified the conceptualization of an emerging cross-cultural communication pattern. These practices are: a) Openness in communication; b) Willingness to commit to one’s online friend; c) Benefiting from distance interaction; d) Strong Interdependence; e) Practical relationship maintenance strategies amidst relationship barriers; f) Active participation of social networks; and, g) Mutual support. Overall, the study brought the “techno-dyadic cross-cultural communication pattern” and “Computer-aided cross-cultural communication theory” to the fore.