Notes on Defining of Computer-Mediated
Communication, by John December
A View of the Internet-based CMC in Terms of Technology
Viewing the Internet as only a technical
system, you would look with
dissatisfaction upon its effectiveness.
The Internet makes a poor database:
It's not centrally managed, there's no consistent
organization, and information quality varies widely.
Based on these shortcomings,
you'd dismiss Internet-based CMC
as a fad that would be certain to fade, joining
the likes of CB radio and the picture phone.
This view would hold that Internet-based CMC is
a marginal form of communication that
only geeks would (ever) like.
But even if the Internet, by some strange
reason, caught on and flourished among tens of
millions of people throughout the world,
you'd still be very concerned.
Fixed on the view that Internet-based CMC
involves the exchange of information only,
you'd scrutinize the content of
that information exchange.
You'd find serious problems.
It's a mess, you'd probably conclude,
leading to viewpoints summarized in this table:
Fearing and Loathing the Internet
- Anyone can just "publish" anything
- No one is keeping track of
what is being published.
- It is possible to
access pornography, hate speech, and
things that are not true.
- Children shouldn't use it.
- Serious scholars should avoid it.
- Journalists should reveal the its lurid debauchery.
- Politicians should regulate it.
- The government should make a better, faster "information
superhighway" that will be official and
- It's all going to collapse anyway with all that
information being exchanged.