Network and Netplay
Virtual Groups on the Internet
Foreword by Ronald Rice The vast, international web of computer networks that is the Internet offers millions of users the opportunity to exchange electronic mail, photographs, and sound clips; to search databases for books, CDs, cars, and term papers; to participate in real-time audio- and video-conferencing; and to shop for products both virtual and physical. This huge conglomerate of links, hyperlinks, and virtual links is not just a technology for linking computers—it is a medium for communication. The convergence of computer and communication technologies creates a social convergence as well. People meet in chat rooms and discussion groups to converse on everything from auto mechanics to postmodern art. Networked groups form virtually and on-the-fly, as common interests dictate. Like interpersonal communication, the networks are participatory, their content made up by their audience. Like mass-mediated communication, they involve large audiences. But the networks are neither purely interpersonal nor purely mass—they are a new phenomenon. Network and Netplay addresses the mutual influences between information technology and group formation and development, to assess the impact of computer-mediated communications on both work and play. Areas discussed include the growth and features of the Internet, network norms and experiences, and the essential nature of network communication.
Contributors Michael Berthold, Lee Li-Jen Chen, Richard Coyne, Brenda Danet, Patrick Doyle, Brian R. Gaines, Barbara Hayes-Roth, Steve Jones, Sandra Katzman, Edward Mabry, Richard MacKinnon, Margaret McLaughlin, Sid Newton, Kerry Osborne, Sheizaf Rafaeli, Yehudit Rosenbaum-Tamari, Lucia Ruedenberg, Christine Smith, Fay Sudweeks, Alexander Voiskounsky, Diane Witmer