Communication and Information Technology

Computer Mediated Communication

To explain or predict media effects

The overview below is commonly used to explain or predict media effects. This overview is by no means complete, but provides a global summary of thinking about media and its effects.

See: Social Presence Theory, Reduced Social Cues Approach, Social Identity model of Deindividuation Effects.

Core Assumptions and Statements

Computer-Mediated Communication has become a part of everyday life. Research has suggested that CMC is not neutral: it can cause many changes in the way people communicate with one another, and it can influence communication patterns and social networks (e.g., Fulk & Collins-Jarvis, 2001). In other words, CMC leads to social effects. Rice & Gattiker (2001) state that CMC differs from face-to-face communication. CMC limits the level of synchronicity of interaction, which may cause a reduction of interactivity. Furthermore, CMC can overcome time- and space dependencies. Together with these arguments the overall use of using CMC results in multiple differences with face-to-face communication.

Conceptions of Social Cues and Social Effects in Different Theoretical Frameworks and their Purpose in Interactions.



Intended Effects

Social Presence

Non-verbal communication

Proximity and orientation

Physical appearance

Person perception

Intimacy/ immediacy

Interpersonal relations

Reduced Social Cues Approach

Non-verbal communication

Visual contact

Statues cues

Position cues

Normative behavior

Social influence

Person awareness

Social Identity Model of Deindividuation Effects (SIDE)

Individuating cues

Social categorizing cues

Social influence

Source: Tanis (2003) p.15.


  • 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.
  • Fulk, J. & Collins-Jarvis, L. (2001). Wired meetings: Technological mediation of organizational gatherings. In L.L. Putnam & F.M. Jablins (Eds.), New handbook of organizational communication (2nd ed., pp 624-703). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  • Rice, R.E. & Gattiker, U.E. (2001). New media and organizational structuring. In F.M. Jablin & L.L. Putnam (Eds), The new handbook of organizational communication (pp. 544-581). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

See also Communication and Information Technology