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Applying CMC Theoreis to Assess Virtual Community
Unformatted Document Text:  CMC Theories and Virtual Community 6 Social presence theory (Short, Williams, & Christie, 1976) states that in order for communication to be successful, social presence, sense of being with another/others, should be involved. The degree to which social presence is involved in the communication exchange is determined by the ability/capacity of the medium to convey all the cues and features associated with communication; the lower the medium capacity is, the less social presence is felt by the people involved in communication. According to the theory, electronic medium has low capacity to transfer nonverbal cues and is said to have low social presence. In a similar vein, media richness theory (Daft and Lengel, 1984) refers to the bandwidth of number of cue systems available within different media (Walther, 1995). Based on the criteria of the theory, face-to-face communication is the richest, while CMC is “lean” for not able to convey non-verbal cues. Media richness theory suggests that communication effectiveness will improve if the medium matches the information processing requirements of the tasks. In other words, rich medium is more appropriate for equivocal tasks where there are multiple and possibly conflicting interpretations to the available information and lean medium for non-equivocal tasks (Daft, and Lengel, 1986). This implies that it is difficult to build substantial interpersonal relationships through CMC. Many studies from the “cue-filtered-out” perspective have reported that the lack of contextual cues and immediate feedback generated several interrelated communicative outcomes (Baym, 2001; Kiesler, Siegal, & McGuire, 1984). One of the most immediate results of being “lean” is anonymity. Through CMC, it is not easy to perceive others’ identity when information about their gender, race, physical appearance, and social status is not available or evident. Many research findings report that the

Authors: Chung, Siyoung.
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CMC Theories and Virtual Community
6
Social presence theory (Short, Williams, & Christie, 1976) states that in order
for communication to be successful, social presence, sense of being with another/others,
should be involved. The degree to which social presence is involved in the
communication exchange is determined by the ability/capacity of the medium to convey
all the cues and features associated with communication; the lower the medium capacity
is, the less social presence is felt by the people involved in communication. According
to the theory, electronic medium has low capacity to transfer nonverbal cues and is said
to have low social presence.
In a similar vein, media richness theory (Daft and Lengel, 1984) refers to the
bandwidth of number of cue systems available within different media (Walther, 1995).
Based on the criteria of the theory, face-to-face communication is the richest, while
CMC is “lean” for not able to convey non-verbal cues. Media richness theory suggests
that communication effectiveness will improve if the medium matches the information
processing requirements of the tasks. In other words, rich medium is more appropriate
for equivocal tasks where there are multiple and possibly conflicting interpretations to
the available information and lean medium for non-equivocal tasks (Daft, and Lengel,
1986). This implies that it is difficult to build substantial interpersonal relationships
through CMC.
Many studies from the “cue-filtered-out” perspective have reported that the lack
of contextual cues and immediate feedback generated several interrelated
communicative outcomes (Baym, 2001; Kiesler, Siegal, & McGuire, 1984). One of the
most immediate results of being “lean” is anonymity. Through CMC, it is not easy to
perceive others’ identity when information about their gender, race, physical appearance,
and social status is not available or evident. Many research findings report that the


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