Reading notes Humphreys Chapter 3: Message Types


What something is made of (properties) make you use it in a certain way. Example: chairs are used for sitting and not transportations because its traits – affordances, makes it perfect for sitting.

Attributes of social media:

Social presence – the “degree to which the medium permits users to experience other as being psychologically present” (Humphreys, 2016, p.25)

Sociability, warmth, personality and sensitivity determine if there is social presence in a medium.

Webcams are more socially present because you are able to see facial expressions and tone of voice. Text messages are not as socially present.

Media richness – the amount of information sent between sender and receiver. The more content for example a webpage with videos with sound are more rich than a webpage with only text.

Temporal structure – differences in social media

Synchronous – Co-present in the same digital space, for example text messaging.

Asynchronous – Posting a message on for example a message board and return hours or days later for the response.


Symmetric – sender and receiver exchange information

Asymmetric – one person or organization sends information. An example is an email being sent out to a lot of people, this can make the communication more formal while symmetric can be more informal communication.

Permanence- how long the content of a message is available to users. Example: Snapchat erases photos after maximum of 10 seconds.

Mobility & replicability: Some media are more portable. Heavy and light media. Heavy are difficult to transport and are durable. Light media are portable, for example a smartphone.

Content can also be mobile. Media replicability – how easy it is to reproduce information.


Historical perspective on the emergence of the internet and mobile telephony:

ARPANET was the first version that later became the internet.

World Wide Web launched in 1991.

Technology: device that allows production or reception of media

Form: Type of media that results from a technology.

Genre: A set of conventions within a form, for example Gothic novels

Remediation: Stylistic elements from former genres that are transferred to into new genres of communication. Previous forms of communication show up in new forms. Example: Pinterest – comes from the idea of a bulletin board.

Social network sites:

Services on the web that allows users to:

  1. Create a public or semi-public profile within a system.
  2. Create a list of users that they share connection with
  3. View their list of connections and those made by others


The base of the social networks are the profiles which users create.

Blogs: Asynchronous and mostly asymmetric. In just 10 years’ blogs have gone from 1 million in 2003 to 181 million blogs in 2013.

Chatrooms: Emerged in early 80’s. Chatrooms are fairly media rich.

Feeds: Twitter is an example of a feed. Twitter is low in richness since there is a limit on 140 characters. The feed is impermanent since new tweets gets more attention. Older messages can be searched through hashtags.

Message boards and forums: Message boards are an early type of asynchronous communication. It came from the idea of a bulletin board, just like Pinterest.

Content sharing and hybrid forums: Most sites tend to be asymmetric. Symmetric features can occur, for example comment sections. Shopping sites like Amazon offer rating which are social components. The customers can gain power over businesses when ratings or reviews are added.

Written by Emily Hesselmark



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