There is a long history of scholarly interest in relational conﬂict, and the literature on the topic has become enormous (for reviews, see Caughlin et al, 2013; Sillars & Canary, 2013). For most of the time that scholars have studied relational conﬂict, the main focus has been on individuals’ verbal and nonverbal behaviors during face-to-face (FtF) conﬂict episodes. Despite the recent rise of research on technologically mediated communication (TMC) and especially computer-mediated communication (CMC) within personal relationships (Barnes, 2003; Baym, 2010; Konjin et al, 2008), extremely little research on relational conﬂict has considered the role that new communication technologies may play in relational conﬂict. Indeed, many of the common methods for studying relational conﬂict eﬀectively preclude learning about the potential functions of TMC; for example, typical observational methods direct participants to have a FtF discussion about conﬂict topics in a laboratory setting that would discourage the use of TMC (e.g., see Caughlin & Scott, 2010). Although conﬂict scholars (including the lead author of this chapter) have been
slow to consider the role of TMC in relational conﬂict, there are good reasons to suspect that understanding contemporary relational conﬂict will require an understanding of TMC in such conﬂicts. Young adults often use social networking throughout the day (Duggan & Brenner, 2013), and with the rise in smartphones, the potential for using technologies in their communication is nearly constant (Birnholtz et al, 2012). Although CMC can play a role in establishing and maintaining weak tie relationships, young adults now commonly use TMC in established relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners (Ellison et al, 2007; Subrahmanyam & Greenﬁeld, 2008). Given that conﬂict is common in such relationships, and individuals are using technologies to communicate in those relationships, it seems likely that people use TMC in at least some relational conﬂicts.