CMC Magazine: December 1998

Walls and Bridges

Book Review: CyberSociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-Mediated Communication and Community
Edited by Steven G. Jones
Sage Publications, 1998
228 pages
ISBN 0-7619-1461-7 (Cloth) or 0-7619-1462-5 (Paper)

Reviewed by Joseph Feller

I found myself reading (and now reviewing) CyberSociety 2.0 through the eye-slits of three institutional masks which I currently wear.  As a student of CMC--one trying to learn from the digital and print canon on  the subject, while at the same time eager to do "original" work and contribute to that growing body--I came to the book looking for "Worthy Questions." As a teacher of CMC -- one dealing with the realities of information overload and the classroom need for accessible and concrete language--I came to the book looking for clearly expressed statements based on the disciplined field application of abstract theory. Finally, as a consumer of technology, I took up the challenge editor Steven Jones issued in his decision to title the work as a "point-release" of its prequel CyberSociety (featured in the March 1995 issue of CMC Magazine and subsequently reviewed in the April 1995 issue). I approached the book as one would a softwareupgrade, asking questions like: How has the look-and-feel, or the functionality, changed? Are these changes improvements?  And finally, how difficultis it to install the upgrade?   I mention these perspectives because, as anyone who has ever worn a mask (physical or theoretical) can attest to, the lens which focuses your vision also blurs your peripheral field, leaving much unexamined.  With that caveat behind me, I'll continue. Feel free to jump in anywhere...

Dr. Joseph Feller ( is an adjunct professor who teaches in the Human Dynamics and Cultural Beliefs Curricula at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. He is also Ringling School's Academic Advisor.

Copyright  © 1998 by Joseph Feller. All Rights Reserved.

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