DT&SC 5/6-9: Media Richness Selection

DT&SC 5/6-9: Media Richness Selection


A characteristic of digitalization that can
be very delicate is the fact that digital information and digital networks allow you
to select the degree of media richness. Media Richness Theory is one of the fundamental
theories of mediated communication developed by Lengel and Daft in the late 80s and they
defined Media Richness as the ability to handle multiple cues simultaneously, to facilitate
rapid feedback, to establish a personal focus and to utilize natural language. So they say
some media have a lot of media richness, face to face dialogue has a lot of richness in
it, and others have much less Media richness. For example a letter, or an email or a text
message is much less rich. And now they say that the complexity of information has to
be adjusted to the level of media richness. For example, if you have a quite complex information
content, for example a doctor communicates to a patient that the patient has a deadly
disease, writing a text message might not be an appropriate medium. On the other hand,
if you have information content that’s not as complex, for example the score of a sports
event or a stock market price, setting up a personal meeting to communicate it might
not be necessary and it’s enough to have a little ticker at the bottom of the TV screen
which tells you the stock market price. So you go into this trade off axis of oversimplification
and overkill and between these two is actually effective communication and always choosing
the effective communication medium is a very important task. For you and your future job;
people get fired because they use the wrong medium for a specific message. People are
very delicate and then they basically kill the messenger. If it’s not communicated
correctly, and you don’t want that to happen, and so digital networks and digital information
in general gives you a selection of which kind of medium to choose and it’s worthwhile
to put a lot of thought into which kind of medium to choose. Just to give you an example,
a recent study showed that the rating of job candidates with regard to their intellect
their general impression of the candidate and the likelihood for them to be hired depended
a lot on whether the candidate presented themselves through video, audio, or through written transcript.
Candidates who presented themselves with video or audio were seen to have a much higher intellect
than the same candidates presented themselves in a written way. So, for example this study
shows that there is a lot of additional information that we assign to the human voice so if you
hear somebody talking, it’s completely different than if you just read the text of somebody
and that just shows you that one always has to be careful in which medium to choose that
makes a very important impression, it gives meaning to the message.

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