Media choice theories conceptualize decisions people make when they are faced with communication media alternatives to fit a communicative need. In this paper we address two gaps in extant research on media choice. First, we show that media choices may be intimately intertwined with the questions of power. The second contribution comes from situating an online community as the focus of media choice research – a novel combination. We conducted an interpretive case study on how power is intermingled with the choice of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) in the Finnish Wikipedia. We found that IRC was viewed in starkly different ways by different actors. Moreover, the IRC was largely associated with the notions of power. In particular, it was related to accession and ability to influence decision-making in the community. One party perceived IRC as a useful and open channel for quick-tempo collaborations and informal interactions, while others saw it as an arena for “the elite” to scheme against “the proletari-at”. Overall, IRC was a source of “multiplex tensions”: conflicts originating from communication be-ing dispersed into multiple media and from different perceptions towards a medium. The study provides several important implications for theory and practice.
Lanamäki, Arto; Iivari, Netta; Rajanen, Mikko; and Hedberg, Henrik, "Battle over Media Choice: Multiplex Tensions in the Online Community of Wikipedia" (2015). ECIS 2015 Completed Research Papers. Paper 116.