CMC Theory in Communication – Definition, Development, Concepts, and Criticism

The use of computers in communication today is common. Sophistication in conveying information using this media makes information easier and faster to obtain, even in just seconds.

Understanding CMC Theory

CMC theory in communication or Computer Mediated Communication is the process of human communication through computers, which involve people, located in certain contexts, involved in the process of forming media for various purposes. This theory has a wide range in the use of new media which is currently discussed by many experts.

Development of the CMC Theory

CMC theory develops along with the development of technology in the computer field. The number of new media that is present and increasingly attached to everyday life makes CMC theory more and more applied. It is this emergence of indirect communication that has led to discussion of CMC theory.

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CMC Theory Concepts

The new concept of CMC attracts many people in the field of communication to conduct research on the differences between CMC and face to face communication . The Social Psychology of Telecommunications, which focuses on conference audio and teleconferencing, explains to early researchers CMC, predictions about the lack of (non-verbal) cues and the frequency of decision making at CMC.

In the Exposed Theory and Computer Impact paper , an important concept in this theory is  presence , describing how psychological conditions in which virtual objects formed by computers are treated like real objects.

In addition there is also the concept of  social presence , which is a condition in which social actors gain experience in accordance with social cues or symbols contained in various communication media.

Sherry Turkle , a psychologist explains, the power of computers to provide this effect does not come from external factors, but also from what is learned and obtained by users when interacting with computers.

Addiction will arise when users feel able to explore the world through computers, able to achieve the illusion of closeness and interest in computers intimately, able to express themselves in their own way and be able to get a justification or justification for themselves.

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According to Severin Tankard , there are six characteristics of the advantages of the internet, namely:

  • Can send messages, words, images, audio and video all at once in an almost unlimited amount,
  • Delivery and receiving messages between communicants are very fast,
  • Live on,
  • Effects or results (information) can be seen immediately right away, realtime,
  • Rely on transactions,
  • Develop interactivity, between the sender and receiver, both tangible people and machine people

Application of CMC Theory

Application of CMC theory in communication for everyday life is certainly no longer a stranger to us. One of them is the use of social media Facebook which is widely used by almost all residents of the world.

Facebook is a social networking site founded by  Mark Zuckerberg , a Harvard student born on May 14, 1984 and a former student of Ardsley High School. At the beginning of his college term, the website in the form of this social network, his membership was still limited to students from Harvard College.

Over the next two months, membership was extended to other schools in the Boston area (Boston College, Boston University, MIT, Tufts), Rochester, Stanford, NYU, Northwestern, and all schools included in the Ivy League.

Many other tertiary institutions were subsequently added gradually in a period of one year after its launch. Finally, slowly even people who already have a university email address (such as: .edu, .ac, .uk, etc.) from all over the world can also join this social networking site.

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Facebook has powerful features that make communication smoother. Chat features that are able to send messages in the form of pictures or videos become one of the mainstay features. Similarly, the story  feature that allows users to send videos or photos that can be seen by many people.

Critical Theory of CMC

The CMC theory in communication makes it easy for anyone to communicate, but that does not mean it does not bring some criticism. There are several problems that can arise from using the internet as a communication medium.

One problem is the limited use of sign language, for example facial expressions or body gestures that can be done when communicating face to face .

According to Budiargo ,

“Interaction through CMC minimizes and even eliminates ‘frame’ contexts, which can illustrate how figures or appearance, behaviors can contextualize the cultural production of adolescents who are interacting.”

Not only that, CMC theory in communication also makes users confused in determining their own identity. The tendency to follow what is trending in cyberspace causes many people to lose their identity.

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Some cases actually cause a person to be compelled to do something taboo or lead to crime. This is what causes a lot of crime that occurs in cyberspace and it is very difficult to detect it.

Although it gives many bad effects, but the benefits provided are also very many. The use of CMC theory in daily communication depends on how we will use it.


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