1. What are the five distinguishing features of online environments? How does each affect human behavior?

Five distinguishing features of online environments

Some of the features of the online environment include;

  • Unfamiliar communication tools. They include the Qwerty keyboards, controls, mice, cameras and microphones that are more complicated to use to communicate, often interfering with smooth interactions. We use unfamiliar tools to interact online, often stumbling over them in the effort to make our interactions productive.
  • Reduced Media Richness. This include the text-based online interactions that are particularly lacking in media richness, with no nonverbal cues to refine and clarify messages. Media richness measures how well a communication medium can reproduce all the nuances and subtleties of the message it transmits.
  • Greater Physical Distance. This is where online interactions occur between people who are both physically separate, and also alone with their computers or other devices. As a result of combination of the physical distance and lack of physical presence, it allows online interactions to take place between people who are geographically separate, not just from one another, but from other people as well.
  • Heightened Anonymity. Many online environments heighten the perception of anonymity, making participants to feel as though they are not identifiable to others. The feature is common to online games and public discussion forum. An example is the GDSS that relies on moderate anonymity in a small workgroup in order to encourage people to contribute freely.
  • Unclear Audience. Since electronic communications can be archived and easily transmitted to others, the size and composition of the audience is not clear. The use of an email helps address several audience at once.