Modulating Synchronicity in Computer Mediated Communication

Yoram Kalman, Sheizaf Rafaeli

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) researchers often cite a dichotomy that distinguishes synchronous and asynchronous media. We examine the historical development of this bifurcated classification, as well as present evidence about the manner CMC media is actually used in the field. We speculate about the evolutionary and biological basis for this behavior. We suggest that synchronicity should not be treated as a dichotomy, but rather as a continuum ranging from the highly synchronous, to the highly asynchronous. In addition, we propose that the traditional treatment of synchronicity as an attribute of the medium should be reevaluated. We should treat synchronicity as an attribute of the conversation, not of the medium. These claims have implications on theories in which medium synchronicity plays an important role, and the Media Richness Theory is examined as a test case. Moreover, given that synchronicity is a continuous parameter modulated through decisions of communicators, we examine the way these decisions on synchronicity are taken, propose a theory of synchronicity modulation, and discuss the synchronicity trade-off principle.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2007
Event57th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 24 May 2007 → …


Conference57th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Period24/05/07 → …
Internet address


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