What is computer mediated communication – How does it help?
You might have already used computer mediated communication, with you knowing or unknowingly. All the same, at the end of the day not everybody knows what is computer mediated communication? Or how does it help? But it would be rather ideal to share the knowledge that we might have with those who do not know.
What is computer mediated communication (CMC).
Any form of communication between two or more individuals who interact with each other using separate computers or devices through the internet or any network connection is computer mediated communication. This can also be through social media software’s or platforms. Ideally methods though which these devices or computers communicate is not of any importance. But rather the typical communication of people via computers or mobile devices is of importance. In simplicity, it can also be defined as any communication patterns mediated though computers. Taking business and social interactions to a whole new level. Simply because you don’t have to necessarily be in the same geographical location.
Broken down into two forms mainly, synchronous and asynchronous. Asynchronous computer mediated communication does not involve simultaneous communication, as one can send electronic messages to a person within their contacts but does not have to receive an immediate feedback from the receiver. The other person involved does not have to be engaged at that particular time. But would rather send feedback when they are free or have time to do so. On the other hand, Synchronous computer mediated communication involves the engagement of both parties to simultaneously communicate, as this maybe in real time. An example can be having a video or voice call on WhatsApp or any social media platform, thereby requiring the engagement of the recipient. It can also be a normal voice call over a network connection.
Advantages of computer mediated communication.
One of the most advantages of CMC is the blind eye of technology software’s to status and position with respect to hierarchy in social relationships and organizations. Once people have electronic access, their status, power, and prestige are not communicated as compared in face to face situations. Thus, charismatic and high-status people may have less influence, and group members can all participate more equally in computer communication. Hiding hierarchical dominance and power information, makes all participates on the same level and less inhibited about communication. Giving them the opportunity to air out their opinions, ideas and feeling about certain issues within an organization or community. It also yield’s high results within a company or organization as there is more participation and contribution from people who would feel intimidated to speak out in person or public.
Computer mediated communication not only breaks down geographic barriers but also the barriers found within work places, schools, colleges and universities. As students that are silent in face to face communication contribution more in CMC discussions, increasing their participation which led to more of contribution. People can exchange, store, edit, broadcast, and copy any written document. They can send data and messages instantly, easily, at low cost, and over long distances. Two or more individuals can look at a document and revise it together, consult with each other on critical matters or ask for and give assistance interactively.
The biggest or greatest advantage to companies is the ability to work anywhere at any time. Many have allowed their employees to work from home or anywhere. With the introduction of portable laptops. Employees can travel or work from home without reducing their productivity within an organization. Enabling them to multitask which also increases the overall productivity of any individual. The tremendous growth of emails or electronic messages has had some distinctive advantages over many organizations. As messages can be sent and received in written form at anytime and anywhere. Individual who might be intimidated due to factors like character or disabilities to participate in communication. Are allowed to communicate in a location of their choice, engaging in communication with minimal stress.
Disadvantages of computer mediated communication.
Some disadvantages of computer mediated communication may revolve upon hardware failure in computers, low battery in smartphones or laptops. Network failure can also be a cause, as the sending of document may be limited due to lack of network coverage in some part of that geographical location, which can also cause a bad reception to the other party engaged within the communication. Sometime the method of communication also matters as its not just about texting and words. The richness of communication mostly revolve around face to face conversation as computer mediated communication lacks socioemotional and non-verbal cues. As a misunderstanding can also arise during CMC due to misinterpretations of one’s tone or voice, which could cause havoc during the communication. Short and late replies may sound as if someone doesn’t want to communicate or is unfriendly. Or one to think they are just being bothered by the conversation.
Issues of trust and confidentiality also arise as we use computer mediated communication as who is who, are they trust worthy. Every time you use CMC you are simply putting yourself out there. Voice and video call are prone to be taped, spoofed, phished and so on. Documents and messages can be sent to spam email. They can also be edited by malicious users. Raising concerns of what the other party can do with the information sent to them if they are not trust worthy. The more wide and advancing the internet is becoming, attackers and malicious users are becoming vicious and finding different ways of attacking their prey.
How does it help?
Computer mediated communication helps in different ways such as it helps those that feel intimidated by hierarchy in face to face communication or discussions, to choose a suitable place to their liking so that they can air out their views and ideas freely. It also helps in business where deals and contracts can be signed without the need to travel as you can send and receive documents online, reducing costs and expenses than the amount you would use to travel. People can now be employed and work from their homes without the need to travel early morning for work and still increase productive. Giving them the chance to multitask or even be employed by two companies if possible.
Unfortunately, they are advantages and disadvantages to everything out there. Some times the advantages are more than the disadvantages or vice Versa depending on what you are doing either school, work or business related. But in most cases confidentiality and trust are the key to running a successful business. Please feel free to leave a comment of what you think about computer mediated communication through our comment section below, your contribution would be highly appreciated.