Rhythm in online and mediated environments

Qualities in online environments are different from the qualities in face-to-face environments. For example, in face-to-face communication, human beings experience spatial dimension from the perspective of physical embodiment. This does not hold in online communication.

Witnessed Presence adds to the notion of presence a dimension of interaction between two beings. Interaction is both being perceived, whilst the other perceives. It is reciprocal, witnessing and being witnessed happen at the same time. In the act of witnessing and being witnessed, necessarily a connection is being established that involves the potential and possibility of some kind of synchrony and rhythm. When meeting face-to-face, human beings ‘tune’ their bodies to each other in a process of entrainment, synchronizing breath, body movements and more. Trans- actions emerge from rhythm and coordination. Being in flow with others makes, it possible to communicate in face- to-face contexts and it is necessary for tacit knowledge to be shared as well. In online environments, this is not possible because communication is mostly disembodied, and only series of transactions establish connection. Online communication facilitates a lot of information sharing and a lot of communication, and it may trigger feelings and also rhythms emerge. Both in offline and online environments, synchronization of rhythm is essential and a requirement for witnessing to take place. However, the reciprocity of Witnessed Presence in a face-to-face context is from a totally different quality than the reciprocity in online contexts. (interview Gill 2010).