Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine /
Volume 1, Number 4 / August 1, 1994 / Page 10
From the Nets...
The Shoemaker-Levy Comet hit
and the packets flowing to and from the server holding the
Latest Images of Comet Shoemaker-Levy Web
page hit the Net hard, spinning Mosaic browser
globes worldwide.... »
Paper-based Newsweek magazine has started a column
called "Cyberscope," which seems to consist of a mix of technology
and popular Net topics... Cyberscope mentioned
and General Magic "vapor products" on July 25th
The August 1st Cyberscope, though, finally did cover something
Yanoff's List... »
As promised in Michael E. Doherty's
article on the Computers and Writers '94 conference last
month, here's information on
the 1995 Computers and Writing conference
for those of you who want to experience a similar fate
Paper (and America Online)-based Time magazine's cover story for
July 25, 1994 was the "Battle for the Soul of the Internet."
Philip Elmer-DeWitt, along with
David S. Jackson and Suneel Ratan, did a good
job to provide a general overview of the Internet.
They succeeded in highlighting some
very important issues--the Canter & Seigel ("Green card") affair,
Clipper, sex, newbies,
N. Meeks' situation, and network
tools for the general reader....
opened a discussion of the article in
(the threads should still be raging) and appeared in
an online forum held in America Online's
Time auditorium on Tuesday July 26th ...
After the paper copy of Time had its week, Elmer-DeWitt
posted the full text of the article in these same newsgroups.
In the article,
the authors acknowledge the cultural nature of online communication
and discuss the dynamics of network communication in terms of
tension between commercial and non-commercial interests,
newbies and old-timers, and people struggling with
pornography, censorship, and privacy on the Net.
Their metaphor of soul, in the title, however,
seems spooky: framing Internet-based computer-mediated communication as
a "struggle" in terms of tensions.
The debate about online communication revolving around a commercial versus
non-commercial culture clash (and many of the other "clashes" the
Time authors mention) oversimplifies the issue.
Commercialization (as well as the existence
many diverse Net communities that intersect, clash, and intermingle)
is moot. The job of our culture may not be to seek a utopia
on networks (we can't seem to do that in real life) but to understand
the human condition in this new environment.
We need not be surprised when network communication
brings about clashes among people and groups.
We must examine the social and emotional implications of CMC more deeply
than binary-tension metaphors that invite false dichotomies.
As to commercialization, it has already arrived online---so rather
than debating its arrival, we must examine
the "commodities" that are and will be traded on global networks.
In simplifying current issues in networked communication,
the Time authors miss the mark from a larger perspective:
they failed to articulate the subtle, complex change taking place
in human communication, thought, and relationships
within the context of online communication and information communities,
an aspect that could be emphasized in a general-interest
Nancy and Sluggo have been lame for decades, but it will be a long time yet
before the adventures of Stafford Huyler's
Netboy are passé
has gone 3-D
Adam Curry has a new home, Metaverse
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