Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine / Volume 1, Number 7 / November 1, 1994 / Page 2

Editor's Page

by John December (, Publisher/Editor

In This Issue

Were you there? Were you one of the lucky few who could make it to the Second International World Wide Web conference? Tove Forgo did, and her report, "Exploring the Web Off-Line at the Second International Conference," provides a glimpse of what transpired. Based on her report and other sources, it seems interest in the Web is reaching a fever pitch.

What are the impacts of this increased Web and Internet use and activity? In his essay, "Welcome to the Emerald City! Please Ignore the Man Behind the Curtain," John Monberg discusses how advances in CMC technologies create more connections among those already using CMC. At the same time, Monberg points out, these advances create more disparity between the information elite and those who have little or no access. Monberg also discusses the "information highway metaphor," and how it reinforces trends towards "information capitalism." Similarly, Stephen Doheny-Farina in this month's, The Last Link column, speculates on the reality behind the "information highway" metaphor. I also touch on social themes in my chapter, "Challenges for a Webbed Society." I discuss how Web communication alters expectations and relationships as well as raising social and ethical issues that our society may face.

John Murray continues the theme of social impacts of CMC in his description of what happened at a recent symposium, "Competition and the Information Superhighway," sponsored by the Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review. In his essay, "Head For The Lifeboats! The Suits Are Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic," Murray describes how large-scale organizations at the conference "are trying to stay afloat by bringing privately-owned, centralized management and control to a hopelessly distributed and fundamentally anarchic network."

In addition to bringing social change, CMC activities can alter thought and discourse. In "MOO as Tool, MOO as Realm: A Response to Don Langham," Michael E. Doherty, Jr. reacts to Don Langham's essay in the June CMC Magazine. Doherty explores the role of the MOO as a tool and also as a realm for thought.


Things have changed in my work on this magazine since I first put issue #1 together seven months ago. What was once a solitary task now includes help from a group of enthusiastic volunteers who are beginning to contribute to this magazine in many ways. You'll see new names and new roles defined on the masthead. As a result, you can look forward to an increase in the quality of editing, writing, design, graphics, and coverage this magazine can offer. In the months ahead, I'll introduce you to new people as their work becomes apparent on these pages. Right now, many on the new staff members are in training mode--learning and improving their computer, Web, writing, and editing skills. I am very excited about the fresh perspectives, experience, and talent this team brings.

This month, I want to extend a welcome to Managing Editor, Michael "Mick" Doherty, Jr. I've given Mick the responsibility for organizing and directing a team of people here in Troy who are interested in helping with the magazine. He'll streamline the communication between myself and the magazine's production, editing, and local writing staff as well as advise on and manage the flow of articles through editing and to production.

Mick brings a great deal of experience to CMC Magazine. He has worked for a number of publications, and awards seem to have followed him around. He worked for the campus publication for Bowling Green University (The BG News) from 1984 to 1988 as an editorial columnist, and as a copy editor, headline writer, rewriter, and sports reporter. The 87-88 issue of The BG News earned the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) national award for outstanding collegiate newspaper. Mick has also worked on Miscellany magazine (circulation 8,000) in Ohio when that magazine won the SPJ Region IV award for Outstanding Collegiate Magazine and was editor-in-chief for Miscellany the following year. He has also written for The Catholic Chronicle (circulation 50,000) (Ohio Diocesan newspaper), Toledo Magazine, Ohio/Michigan Line, and national publications such as Diabetes Forecast. He brings a good deal of experience from these print publications, and I look forward to working closely with him in making CMC Magazine even better.

Thanks for This Issue

Thanks to Lee Honeycutt and Kevin Hunt for learning HTML this month and marking up many of the articles in this issue. Thanks to Lynne Cooke, Chris Lapham, and Lee Honeycutt for their help with copy editing. Thanks to Michael E. Doherty, Jr. for helping to develop and motivate a Troy-based team of people to work on the production, editing, and writing for this magazine.


Like a seven-month old, this magazine is still concerned with survival needs and still finding its voice. I see important challenges ahead in developing this magazine so that it serves the field of CMC studies well. These challenges include:
  1. Defining the magazine's "identity" and role within the field of CMC Studies, recognizing the diverse landscape of scholars and scholarship as well as complementing the important contributions more formal publications such as The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (JCMC) and others offer to the field.
  2. Understanding the magazine's intended and actual audience
  3. Developing and defining a distinctive style to serve as a guideline for contributors as well as specific information (a style sheet) for copy editors
  4. Fostering increasingly high-quality content exploring the diverse experiences of and approaches to CMC
We are starting projects involving many of the new staff members which specifically approach each of these challenges. In the months ahead, I'll describe progress and specifics of these projects. In the meantime, I seek opinions and input from scholars, practitioners, journalists, and others with experience in publishing and CMC Studies to guide me as I make decisions in these areas. If you have some ideas, please drop me a note. If you are a reader of this magazine, you can also help me by telling me who you are, what you think of the magazine so far, and what directions you feel may be important in addressing the challenges I've outlined above.

I see this magazine evolving, perhaps constantly, in a way that can only be described as "bottom up," as the staff here learns from each other and from the many people we encounter in our studies. A few weeks ago, Jean-Claude Guedon, editor of Surfaces, visited our campus as part of a lecture series. His essay, "Why are Electronic Publications Difficult to Classify?: The Orthogonality of Print and Digital Media," explores many issues that I struggle with now: how can a Web-based publication retain some cues from print while at the same time taking full advantage of hypermedia? How can a publication carve out an identity within an area of thought and knowledge in an online medium? What techniques can be used to appeal to a range of multidisciplinary scholars to contribute content which explores ideas of significance? Along with colleagues, I had a chance to talk with Jean-Claude in more detail after his lecture. Talking with him, I've already been inspired with some new ideas and directions.

In my welcome editorial, I asked others to join me in exploring the world of online communication, and to start examine what we can know now about CMC. The challenge for this magazine remains--to change and grow from this vision, to mature, to develop new relationships, and to continue to invent itself. ... ¤

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