Synchronous communication: characteristics, advantages and disadvantages
New technologies have changed the way we interact with other people and this includes, of course, the way we communicate. The emergence of virtual platforms and mobile devices allows us to be in constant contact with everything, including people.
One of the many possibilities offered by new technologies is synchronous communication . Throughout this article we will discuss the fundamental characteristics of this, the main means or communication platforms that allow it, and the advantages and disadvantages that it presents.
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What is synchronous communication?
By synchrony we understand the coincidence in time of two or more facts. If this concept is applied to communication between people, we get the idea of synchronic communication.
By synchronous communication we understand all those moments in which a dialogue or conversation between two or more people takes place in real time . Within this dialogue, people share a discourse, a medium through which information circulates and the time they invest during communication.
Although, at first, it may not be a novel concept (since it is reminiscent of a traditional spoken conversation), the idea of synchronous communication is framed within the world of new technologies, specifically within the CMC (Computer Mediated Communication).
Within this scope, synchronous communication is defined as a process of exchange of information in real time and through the use of Internet or technological platforms.
The main characteristic of synchronous communication within the CMC is the time factor, which offers us the possibility to dialogue, exchange information, discuss ... with one or more people, in real time, without the need for this person to be in front of us in that same place.
The first example that can come to mind is telephone conversations . With the invention of the telephone, around 1860, the revolution of synchronous communication began. Since, in spite of the physical distance, two people can maintain an exchange of information live. That is, synchronously.
However, with the advent of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), chat has become the prototype of synchronous communication par excellence. The chats provide us with a space for exchanging information and interacting directly with the characteristics of a traditional oral communication, but mediated by a virtual space .
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How is it different from asynchronous communication?
The counterpoint to this synchronous communication is determined by asynchronous communication. Literally, the definition of asynchronous communication refers to the process of information exchange in which people do not share or coincide in the time factor.
This means that, unlike synchronous communication, in asynchronous communication people do not share the information simultaneously or in the same time frame.
A traditional example of asynchronous communication is the letter or the postal mail . However, given that we are in a virtual communication context, the greatest example of this type of information exchange that exists today is that of electronic mail.
What applications do you have?
In addition to the applications of synchronous communication in people's daily lives, thanks to which contact with anyone in real time is possible, this form of communication can be really useful in educational and even work contexts.
Thanks to virtual communication platforms, students, teachers and co-workers can communicate and collaborate synchronously (or asynchronously) without space-time limitations.
Through the use of internet networks, platforms, tools or virtual applications the exchange of ideas and information is facilitated. Which, well used, can mean an advance in the way of learning and working.
Main technological tools
To be able to carry out a synchronous communication process, a series of tools that enable real-time communication is required.For this, the interlocutors must, in addition to own the tool and the technological support, be connected at the same time , regardless of the distance that separates them.
For this, we find three main tools through which to establish synchronous communication. These are: instant messaging, chat and video-call or audio-call.
1. Instant messaging
This is one of the first forms of real-time communication between people based on the text. By using devices connected to an internet network, it is allowed in instant communication between two or more people through a written language.
In addition, with the latest advances and updates, this system also allows communication through voice messages and the exchange of images, documents, links and audiovisual information .
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The appearance of the chat rooms within different virtual platforms meant a revolution in the dynamics of communication between people. These spaces of live virtual communication suppose a meeting space between two or more people in which to share all kinds of information.
Over the years, these spaces have been specialized and, at present, we can find chat rooms or communication platforms of this type organized in a thematic way and that allow the exchange of specific information.
3. Video-calls and audio calls
In addition to the traditional audio calls, with the video-calls or video-conferences a bidirectional live communication is possible, with the characteristics of a communication or oral conversation since includes visual and auditory information , and without the restrictions that distance implies.
What advantages and disadvantages does it present?
Although this type of communication has great advantages, hence the scope of its popularity, its misuse can lead to a series of drawbacks. Among the advantages and disadvantages of synchronous communication are:
The main advantages are the following.
- It allows us to generate a communication or dialogue with other people regardless of where they are located , which enables instant communication at the international level.
- Enables the preservation of the interaction file
- It allows the storage of the visual or auditory information exchanged.
- Enables teamwork without people having to meet in the same place .
- It is a meeting space and facilitates interaction between people with the same interests.
Among the disadvantages associated with synchronous communication.
- In the case of written communication, the lack of context or the inability to perceive the tone of the other person can lead to misunderstandings or confusion.
- Lack of interaction rules or lack of consideration It can lead to saturation of the person. Which may feel compelled to answer at all times.
- Requires constant updating as technologies advance
- It can generate dependence and the need to keep in touch with others.