Media Richness Theory

Media Richness Theory
Media Richness Theory

Isn’t this a cool little theory?! It shows the richness of the communication – how personal, how interactive, how effective.

Let’s ask ourselves though, does effective mean more synchronous? does effective mean more asynchronous?

Compare Media Richness Theory to this chart by Wesley Fryer:

What other comparisons can be made? What framework do you find for thinking about these tools? How do you decide which one to use for which purpose? Have you seen any similar comparisons? Please share!

0 replies on “Media Richness Theory”

  1. I am so glad you are finding the theory behind so much of what we do!

    For Monster Match, I start by sending out generic messages to listservs to recruit teachers. Then I will email people who are participating and coordinators.

    Sometimes, there will be miscommunication and as I am composing the third or fourth email, I realize that I should move to the phone. If the school is too far for me to drive to, I will then try videoconferencing if there is still a need for working through an issue or negotiating a solution to whatever is happening. A couple of times, when there was a great deal of confusion, I just got in the car and drove out to meet with the teacher/coordinator face-to-face. šŸ™‚

    Once we have met f2f, it does seem that other forms of communications (synchronous and asynch both) seem to go more smoothly. A comment from my Bluebonnet teachers was they they trust me and that I will do what I say I will do. (Didn’t you post on trust a couple of posts ago?)

    Keep sharing and making us think!

    • Nice model of thinking through the different levels and when to move up the ladder! Sometimes we stick with one type of communication when we really should use a different one. It’s good to know when to try something different instead of just getting frustrated!

      Face to face is nice to start off; if you don’t have it, it takes longer to build trust, don’t you think?


  2. Thanks for this post, it was quite insightful and interesting (though the first chart seems a tad outdated relative to online social media…).

    I’m going to have to read this post of yours on trust, so maybe I’ll be commenting again, but I am interested in how trust works across social networking sites – as a high school teacher, Applebatch initially comes to mind – and where these sites fit on the media richness spectrum. Anyway, thanks so much for the post!


  3. My knee-jerk reaction is to agree with the first set of diagrams. But on short reflection, I don’t think it bears out – largely because it seems so absolute. I can think of many examples (which your four square figures also provides) that negate it.

    I guess I come back to “purpose”. What is the purpose of each modality? How is the modality employed?

    Thanks for posting…

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