Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine / Volume 1, Number 1 / May 1, 1994 / Page 6

A Welcome and a Challenge

by John December, Publisher/Editor

Welcome to the first issue of Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine. This magazine's mission is to provide a forum for reporting on people, events, technology, and issues involved in the use and study of computer-mediated communication. CMC Magazine presents news, opinion, and perspectives about the state and direction of CMC studies and research.

There has been a great deal of discussion recently about the development of high-speed, wide-area, broadband networks for communication and information. Under such terms as information superhighway or infobahn, visions of a future network have drawn rhetoric from the media, industry, and national government initiatives. Press coverage and public perception has sometimes focused on visions of 500-channel televisions or commercial images of appealing and/or mysterious communications options.

But the richness of global CMC is not just a future event that national governments or telecommunications companies will bring about. I don't often see--in the mass media or in national debates--an articulation of what we can know and understand now.

While the global Internet and connected networks are changing, they serve as a lively, current expression of CMC, engaging millions of people daily in chaotic and voluminous exchanges ranging the gamut of human personality, expression, and ideas.

The richness of current network experiences and CMC scholarship can be brought to bear on issues we now face as a culture rapidly adopting new communication technologies. Scholarly theory and research in the field of CMC extends back more than two decades (while associated disciplines that can inform this debate are centuries old). Based on this foundation, and the current global examples of CMC, we can develop our to understanding of human interaction on global, national, regional, and local networks. My vision for this forum, CMC Magazine, and the CMC Studies Center is to help, in a modest way, to enrich this scholarship.

I invite you to read this issue, lead me in other directions, and add your stories to what I publish here. Take a critical look at CMC--from the standpoint of theory, research, applications, politics, public policy, and the many other perspectives from which it can be approached. How can we understand and shape a world transformed by global and local CMC? What are the implications for culture and society? What are the technical issues involved? How does computer-mediated communication change thought? I always have questions. I challenge you to join with me to ask more questions and present news and views--provocative, and controversial--and to continue this process of exploration.

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