Computer-Mediated Communication: Definition, Types & Advantages

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: The Theory of Social Presence

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 What Is…
  • 0:43 Types of CMC
  • 2:00 Advantages of CMC
  • 2:43 Disadvantages of CMC
  • 3:41 Lesson Summay
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

In less than a few decades, computer-mediated communications have revolutionized the way that people stay in touch and the way that companies conduct business. To find out more about these changes, take a look at this lesson.

What Is Computer-Mediated Communication?

Let's say that you needed to get a message to someone. In the past, you'd have to physically track them down or have someone else do it. Today, you've got a few more options. You can send them a text, an email, post on their wall, or reach out to them in any number of ways. You can even send them a video message of you expressing the news - forget the message; you could just video chat with them! In fact, it may take longer to figure out what method to use to send the message than to send the actual message!

All of these are examples of computer-mediated communications (CMC), which is a more concise term that applies to all the ways that we have of reaching out and communicating with someone from a distance via a computer.

Types of CMC

As you can imagine, there are several types of computer-mediated communications. We can divide these all up by two different criteria.

First of all, does the communication in question involve immediate feedback, or is it dependent on someone checking for messages? We call this synchronous and asynchronous communication. Synchronous communication occurs when communication happens between two actively communicating parties. Video conferencing and instant messaging are both forms of synchronous communication. Of course, sometimes circumstances could disrupt the connection, but most of the time, it's pretty reliable.

On the other hand, asynchronous communication refers to those instances where a conversation does not depend on an immediate answer. Email, video messages, and text messages are examples of asynchronous communication. Of course, you could respond rapidly, as people are prone to do with texts, but the design is not dependent on an immediate response.

The other division we can make between types of computer-mediated communications is the type of message. Text-based messages have been around the longest and range from emails and instant messages to social media posts and texts. On the other hand, video messages are something relatively new. While email has been around for a few decades, video conferencing has only recently become something very popular.

Advantages of CMC

There are many advantages to computer-mediated communications. The most obvious of which is that it saves time and resources. In the past, if two parties wanted to communicate, they would either have to mail letters back and forth or physically move people back and forth. Mail takes days to arrive, while the cost of flying someone across the country is pretty substantial. On the other hand, computer-mediated communications do this all for a much lower cost. In fact, computer-mediated communications allow work that used to require everyone in one office to be done across great distances.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account