Masthead CMC Magazine / March 1, 1996

Truly World Wide Communication?

by Lisa Schmeiser

One of the lures of computer mediated communication is the idea of conversation conquering geography. Pen pals, collaborators, colleagues--computer mediated communication has handed us a tool for building the now-classic global village.

Or has it? There are two basic obstacles barring us from building this village. The first is technology: there is no ASCII analogue for Chinese, or readily accesible platform for switching between a pictographic language and one scribed in the basic Roman alphabet. The second is language itself: I can only assume the same research resources I find in Virginia Tech's chemistry department have a French or Farsi analogue because I am not fluent in either language.

How much opportunity for a truly world-wide Web do we have with these barriers? Do we even fully understand the challenges we must meet before we can utilize CMC's fullest potential as a means of international discourse? Or are we already there?

The August 1996 issue of CMC Magazine will be devoted to exploring the issues that encompass global communication. We're looking for a variety of perspectives on this topic: people who are successfully communicating across language and technology barriers; people who can explain the current technology and what future developments might mean for increased language capability; people who can explore the cultural considerations of a multi-lingual or mono-lingual Web; people who can parlay international CMC into business.

You can send an inquiry of your ideas for this issue to Lisa Schmeiser at For more information on submitting material, check the CMC Magazine Index and the links under 'Policies."

We welcome your ideas, suggestions for articles, and proposals for submission.

The deadline for receiving completed submissions is July 1, 1996. [TOC]

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