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A comparison of four new communication technologies

Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
  • Business And Management Studies


A Comparison of Four New Communication Technologies A Comparison of Four New Communication Technologies Ruth Rettie Kingston University Kingston Hill, Kingston, KT2 7LB, U.K. [email protected] Abstract This paper describes a study of four new communication channels: Instant Messenger, email, text messages and mobile phones. The research develops a new model of communication channel choice in which media richness and social presence are important factors, but the core concept is channel-connectedness. The channels studied facilitate different levels of connectedness and this helps to explain usage. The degree of connection desired varies by both participant and occasion, and channels are chosen accordingly. The four channels play different communication roles, consequently, despite convergence of their technologies, the different formats will persist. 1 Introduction Venkatesh (1998, p 670) writes, "the recent convergence of communication and information technologies has created possibilities unthinkable only a few years ago". Mobile phones, email, SMS (Short Message Service) messages and IM (Instant Messenger) are new communication technologies, which all contribute to the 'death of distance' (Cairncross, 2001). This research explores and compares consumer usage and attitudes to the four technologies, developing a new communication choice model. Although the research focuses on leisure use among young people, the model should be more generally applicable. 2 Literature Review 2.1 Media Communication Theory Social presence (Short, Williams and Christie, 1976) and media richness (Daft and Lengel, 1986) help to explain media choice. Social presence is the extent to which a medium conveys the actual presence of participants. The 'richness' of a medium is measured by its capacity for multiple cues and immediate feedback. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is low in social presence (Rice and Love, 1987) and l

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