They just don’t understand! On the allure of synchronicity to users of Computer Mediated Communication

Yoram Kalman, Sheizaf Rafaeli

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) media is traditionally divided into two categories: synchronous media (e.g. instant messaging, chat) and asynchronous media (e.g. email, discussion board). Recent trends, as well as findings about the manner in which users actually utilize CMC technologies, show that communication media are actually used at varying levels of synchronicity, and not at only one level; that there are intermediary
levels of synchronicity ranging from the highly synchronous to the highly asynchronous; and, that the level of
synchronicity is not only a function of the medium being used, but also of decisions taken by users. Moreover, it is becoming clear that despite the opportunity offered by various so-called asynchronous media, users tend to
utilize the capability of asynchronous media in a highly skewed manner, giving preference to the synchronous
over the asynchronous.
In this paper, we describe the trends that have blurred the dichotomy between synchronous and asynchronous
communication, and speculate about the reasons for the human preference for high synchronicity. We discuss
the implications of this preference for Information Systems researchers and practitioners.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
EventILAIS - Israel Association for Information Systems 2007 - אוניברסיטת בר אילן, Ramat Gan , Israel
Duration: 20 May 2007 → …


ConferenceILAIS - Israel Association for Information Systems 2007
CityRamat Gan
Period20/05/07 → …
Internet address


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