The Media Characteristics Perspective
The Media Characteristics Perspective is the most prominent of the three perspectives considered in this study and has generated the most empirical research.
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First, it assumes that the characteristics of the media and their appropriateness for a communication activity are objective and absolute across rational individuals. A second assumption is that of substitutability or channel equivalence. Much of the work in this body of rational choice research has assumed channel equivalence. Social Presence and Media Richness are two examples of the Media Characteristics Perspective. Another explanation derived from the Media.
Social Presence Theory Social Presence Theory (views communication media along a one dimensional continuum of “social presence.” Social presence is the degree to which a communication medium allows the user to be aware of his or her communication partners). Face-to-face communication ranks the highest in social presence followed by media that facilitate audio and video, followed by audio only and finally print. Individuals choose media according to the level of social presence required for the communication task.
Communication tasks that involve conflict or negotiation are best handled by media that have a high degree of social presence such as face-to-face communication. For the exchange of simple information, written media are best. Notice that both the characteristics of the medium as well as the ambiguity of the communication act are regarded as constant across individuals. According to Social Presence Theory, the efficiency of the communication act is a function of achieving a fit between task and medium. Support for the social presence theory is moderate. Most tests of the model have been conducted in the laboratory setting. These results have limited generalizability beyond that setting .