Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine / Volume 1, Number 2 / June 1, 1994 / Page 9

Editor's Page

by John December, Publisher/Editor

Welcome Assistant Editors

I'm pleased to welcome Assistant Editors Leysia Palen and Gary Ritzenthaler to CMC Magazine with this issue. Both bring great experience and new perspectives, and they both have already brought new voices to this magazine.

In This Issue...

Brock N. Meeks reports on the GAO's actions in selecting MCI to develop a major high speed research network. Big companies are realizing that the "information superhighway" means big bucks, and there is a scramble to grab a piece of it. Understanding and following network public policy issues is crucial to influencing the global information infrastructure.

An island nation and still an Internet island (relatively isolated with respect to global networks for such an industrial power), Japan's adoption of global internetworking technology is still lagging, as illustrated by Bruce Hahne's report on the Business Show '94 held recently in Tokyo.

Professional and scholarly organizations must move onto the Internet if they are to keep up with communication trends. I describe the Society for Technical Communication's first steps into Internet-based communication .

Rob Kling discusses the field of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), an area of study which applies CMC to improve task performance and communication among people in organizations.

Gary Ritzenthaler begins a series of columns, Pyxis Cyberea, examining lessons learned from the Florida Compass WWW news prototype.

In the FROM THE NETS column this month, I've tried a different approach to reporting on what's happening on the Net and its cultural expressions in terms of Waves... Threads... Catches....

Putting This Issue Together (Some Reflections on Cyberspace)

Travelling in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for several weeks, I've put this issue together on my Zenith Mastersport 386SL laptop, calling by modem every couple of days to my account at Rensselaer. I've missed having access to the color Sun Sparcstations on Rensselaer's campus, the X interface, the full Internet connection. Walking along the Lake Superior shore, I thought about how far the Internet/Matrix extended to this isolated part of Michigan where I was born, a place cloaked for many months each winter in snow. How much of one's experience of cyberspace depends on equipment, graphical user interfaces, and tne physical Net itself?

I thought of the authors and assistant editors that I'd been working with for this issue, wondering what night their articles would appear in my mailbox, among the hundreds of email messages accumulated over several days between calls. Once their articles arrived, I would download them to my laptop and arrange and edit them for this issue. Travelling to Madison, Wisconsin, I had (foolishly) neglected to make backup copies of the only edited instance of this issue, and it sailed along US 41 south on my hard disk, at 65 mph in the summer sun. There was no disaster, no data lost, but these experience marked for me an awareness of the my tenuous dependence on quite complex (and expensive) equipment and infrastructure for my experience of cyberspace.

Most importantly, for my work, I depend on using the Net to maintain relationships with people--authors and editors for this issue, people interested in the CMC Studies Center, my dissertation committee, friends, and the users, editors, writers, and trainers I work with on projects. These relationships--formed out of the power of the Net to transcend spatial and temporal constraints--seem more distant to me with my only view of the Net a monochrome screen, a dialup connection, accessed while long-distance charges accumulate (a view I know many people routinely have of the Net). But somehow, these relationships hold on, and I have put this issue together. Cyberspace, I suspect, may be more in the mind than in the interface, more a product of human effort and imagination than hardware and software.

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