Great to Have You Here! - Understanding and Designing Social Presence in Information Systems

Walter N, Ortbach K, Niehaves B

Technologically created social presence (SP), i.e. the feeling of human contact, is gaining in importance in today's digital world where interaction becomes more and more impersonal. However, information systems (IS) research lacks a clear notion of both the concept itself and possible technological design decisions that could foster SP. Within this paper, we address this gap by providing an overview over the theory of SP for utilization in IS research. First, we develop a framework of SP dimensions and design dimensions of SP from related psychological literature. Then, we use this framework to analyze existing design choices in IS journal papers and point out shortcoming in the IS field. Our results suggest that IS needs to broaden its scope beyond iterating media richness to evoke social presence. Furthermore, current IS research mainly focuses on emotional aspects of social presence and neglects the evaluative dimension of the construct. Our paper concludes with a discussion of limitations and an outlook on potential future research in this context.

Social Presence; Social Facilitation; Media Richness

Publication type
Forschungsartikel in Sammelband (Konferenz)

Peer reviewed

Publication status


Proceedings of the 21st European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2013)

Utrecht, Netherlands