Impact of sychronicity and civility in computer mediated communication on perceptions of online political discussions.
Ng, Elaine Wang Jee.
Date of Issue2005
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Computer mediated communication (CMC) provides an alternative platform for political discussions and can in turn facilitate the healthy functioning of a democratic society. Using a mixed-model factorial design, a laboratory experiment (n = 153) was conducted to investigate the effects of two features of CMC - synchronicity and civility - on perceptions of on-line political discussions and discussants. Results indicate that the synchronous versions of the discussions were perceived as more informative and persuasive than the asynchronous versions. Discussants in the uncivil versions of the discussions were perceived as more dominant and less credible. However, neither synchronicity nor civility had a significant impact on people’s intentions to participate. The results stand in contrast to those of previous content analysis research, suggesting the importance of the study of perceptions in future research. The implications of the findings for on-line political communication are discussed.
Nanyang Technological University