In the world of communication, it is important to understand the role of social presence theory. This theory suggests that people tend to behave in a more social manner when they feel that they are present in a situation, even if that situation is mediated by technology.

But who exactly proposed this theory? Let’s take a closer look.

The social presence theory was first introduced by John Short, Ederyn Williams, and Bruce Christie in their 1976 book “The Social Psychology of Telecommunications.” The three authors were researchers at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and had been studying the effects of communication technology on human behavior.

According to Short, Williams, and Christie, social presence is the feeling or perception that an individual has when they are interacting with others. This feeling can be influenced by various factors such as physical proximity, eye contact, and nonverbal cues. In face-to-face communication settings, social presence is typically high because individuals can see and hear each other directly.

However, in mediated communication settings such as email or video conferencing, social presence may be lower because individuals are not physically present with each other. Short et al. argued that this lack of physical presence can lead to feelings of isolation or detachment from others.

To test their theory, Short et al. conducted several experiments using different forms of communication technology such as video conferencing and audio conferencing. They found that individuals who used video conferencing reported higher levels of social presence compared to those who used audio conferencing.

Since its introduction in 1976, the social presence theory has become a popular topic among researchers in various fields such as psychology, sociology, and communication studies. It has been used to explain how people interact with each other online through social media platforms and other forms of digital communication.

In conclusion, John Short, Ederyn Williams, and Bruce Christie were the pioneers behind the social presence theory. Their research has paved the way for a better understanding of how communication technology affects human behavior and social interaction. As we continue to rely on technology for communication, the social presence theory remains relevant in today’s society.