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The Electronic Journal of Communication / La Revue Electronique de Communication


Volume 3 April 1993 Number 2

COMPUTER MEDIATED COMMUNICATION
LA COMMUNICATION INFORMATISEE

Editor/Editeur

Thomas W. Benson
Pennsylvania State University


ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION
LA REVUE ELECTRONIQUE DE COMMUNICATION

Volume 3 April 1993 No. 2

Editor's Introduction: Computer-Mediated Communication

Most of the first wave of readers of this special issue of The Electronic Journal of Communication will read it at a microcomputer, or perhaps on a printout from their university mainframe computer or on their desktops. For this reason, most of our readers are already marked as converts to the practical benefits of the electronic revolution in the workplace--the economy, power, speed, and global reach of computer communications. Most of us have experienced, sometimes with awe, the transformation of our work and, with wonder, the sheer technological genius that is advancing year by year and month by month in the cybernetic hardware store of our contemporary world. Amazement at electronic technology has become a habit.

But for those of us who have chosen to devote our academic lives to the study of human communication, the wonders of hardware are only part of the story. For us, the microcomputer and the tools and networks to which it is attached are essentially instruments for communication, and they refresh and stimulate our appreciation for the ways human beings make communities with words.

The authors of the essays in this special issue apply a variety of modes of investigation to discuss the role of computer-mediated communication in education, organizations, and interpersonal relations, and the social, individual and infrastructural issues involved in communicating through computers. They seem likely to add useful perspectives to an ongoing scholarly conversation.

As editor of this special issue, it is a pleasure to acknowledge assistance I have received in putting it together. I am especially grateful to our authors for their boldness in supporting this experiment in electronic journal-making, and for their cooperation and care in responding to the advice of our referees. For agreeing to referee manuscripts for this issue, we are indebted to Janet Asteroff, William Bailey, Randall Bytwerk, Cheree Carlson, David Crookall, Bernardo Ferdman, Davis Foulger, Joseph Gow, Gary Gumpert, Kenneth Hacker, Lance Haynes, Warren Lewis, Renee Meyers, William Nothstine, Roger Pace, Cal Pryluck, Ron Rice, Steven Rollman, Susan Ross, Gerald Santoro, and Susan Whalen. Special thanks are owed to Teri Harrison of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, COMSERVE and the Communication Institute for Online Scholarship, who first invited me to edit this special issue and who provided patient and expert support in producing the issue. As always, I am grateful to the Department of Speech Communication, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Center for Academic Computing of the Pennsylvania State University, who provide such a congenial place to work and who have always been exceptionally generous in supporting the interests of a rhetorician fascinated with computer-mediated communication.

Thomas W. Benson
Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Rhetoric
Department of Speech Communication
Penn State University
227 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802
Office: (814) 865-4201
Bitnet: T3B@PSUVM Internet: t3b@psuvm.psu.edu


Introduction de L'Editeur: La Communication Informatisee

Pour la plupart, les premiers lecteurs de ce numero special de la Revue Electronique de Communication le liront sur leur micro- ordinateur, ou peut etre sur la sortie d'imprimante d'un ordinateur central, ou encore sur leur terminal. Pour cette raison, la majorite de nos lecteurs est deja convaincus des avantages pratiques de la revolution electronique sur le lieu de travail - l'economie, la puissance, la vitesse et la portee universelle des moyens de communication informatises. Bon nombre d'entre nous a vecu, parfois avec crainte, la transformation de notre travail, et avec emerveillement, la progression, annee par annee et mois par mois, du pur genie technologique en matiere de materiel cybernetique dont fait preuve notre monde contemporain. S'etonner de la technologie electronique est devenu une habitude.

Mais pour ceux d'entre nous qui ont choisi de dedier leur vie academique a l'etude de la communication humaine, les merveilles du materiel informatique n'en sont qu'un aspect. Pour nous, le micro- ordinateur et les outils et reseaux auxquels il est relie sont essentiellement des instruments de communication, et ils renforcent et stimulent notre appreciation des moyens par lesquels les etres humains creent des communautes avec des mots.

Les auteurs des essais de ce numero special ont recours a differents modes de recherche pour discuter du role de la communication informatisee dans l'education, les organisations et les relations interpersonnelles, et des problemes sociaux, individuels et infrastructuraux qui decoulent de la communication informatisee. Les perspectives qu'ils apportent seront sans doute utiles a la conversation de specialistes qui est en cours.

En tant qu'editeur de ce numero special, je tiens a exprimer ma gratitude pour l'aide que j'ai recue dans sa preparation. Je suis particulierement reconnaissant a nos auteurs pour leur courageux soutien dans cette experience d'une revue electronique, et pour leur cooperation et le soin qu'ils ont pris a repondre aux conseils de nos arbitres. Nous sommes redevables a Janet Asteroff, William Bailey, Randall Bytwerk, Cheree Carlson, David Crookall, Bernardo Ferdman, Davis Foulger, Joseph Gow, Gary Gumpert, Kenneth Hacker, Lance Haynes, Warren Lewis, Renee Meyers, William Nothstine, Roger Pace, Cal Pryluck, Ron Rice, Steven Rollman, Susan Ross, Gerald Santoro, et Susan Whalen pour avoir accepte d'arbitrer les manuscripts publies dans ce numero. Je remercie tout specialement Teri Harrison de Renselaer Polytechnic Institute, COMSERVE et le "Communication Institute for Online Scholarship", qui m'a invite a diter le premier ce numero special, et dont la patience et l'expertise m'ont aide dans cette tache. Comme toujours, je suis reconnaissant au "Department of Speech Communication", au "College of Liberal Arts", et au "Center for Academic Computing" de Pennsylvania State University, qui offrent un lieu de travail tres agreable, et qui ont toujours soutenu avec une generosite exceptionnelle un rhetoricien fascine par la communication informatisee.

Thomas W. Benson
Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Rhetoric
Department of Speech Communication
Penn State University
227 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802
Bureau : (814) 865-4201
Bitnet: T3B@PSUVM Internet: t3b@psuvm.psu.edu


Copyright 1993
Communication Institute for Online Scholarship, Inc.