Social Presence Theory

awareness of an interaction partner

See: Computer-Mediated Communication, Reduced Social Cues Approach, Social Identity model of Deindividuation Effects,

Core Assumptions and Statements

Short, Williams and Christie founded this theory in 1976. This approach is the groundwork for many theories on new medium effects. The idea is that a medium’s social effects are principally caused by the degree of social presence which it affords to its users. By social presence is meant a communicator’s sense of awareness of the presence of an interaction partner. This is important for the process by which man comes to know and think about other persons, their characteristics, qualities and inner states (Short et al., 1976). Thus increased presence leads to a better person perception.


Tanis, M. (2003). Cues to Identity in CMC. The impact on Person Perception and Subsequent Interaction Outcomes. Thesis University of Amsterdam. Enschede: Print Partners Ipskamp.

Short, J.A., Williams, E., & Christie, B. (1976). The social psychology of telecommunications. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Short, J.A. (1974). Effects of medium of communication on experimental negotiation. Human Relations, 27 (3), 325-334.

See Communication and Information Technology