Connections
New Ways of Working in the Networked Organization


This document discusses the pros and cons of using electronic 
communication in comparison with face-to-face communication. 
It's concerned with the dynamics of the group and how they 
change given these two forms of communication. It specifies 
some of the ways in which group behavior is predictable such 
as cohesiveness, egocentrism, group extremitization, and 
groupthink. Given these variables of group communication, 
they experiment with how these dynamics differ in electronic 
and face-to-face communication. The authors brought up some 
interesting results such as face-to-face communication can 
dampen brainstorming activity because group participants 
spend too much time listening to one another rather than 
thinking. Another interesting point was that in face-to-face 
discussions, a small number of participants dominate by 
speaking at greater percentages. They argue that with 
electronic communication this is not as much of a problem. 
This attribute this to the fact that it is harder to read 
status cues in electronic messages. There were many other 
interesting results in this paper that I would agree with. 
Overall, I believe this article presents results that are 
worth considering in the decision of what type of 
communication to utilize in particular group communication 
situations.


Electropolis: Communication and Community On Internet Relay 
Chat


This paper describes Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and tries to 
analyze it from a sociological perspective. IRC is a chat 
community that allows individuals to sign on with nicknames 
and enter channels to discuss different topics. The argument 
is that IRC is a postmodern cultural tool that can be used 
for good or for evil. Participants have developed a new 
culture by which they have decomposed existing culture in the 
physical world and used it to create a unique virtual 
environment. I used to be an IRC chatter and I think the 
author of this paper did a very good job of describing the 
type of interaction that goes on in IRC. IRC provides a way 
for individuals to connect with others and take on an alter 
ego, a cybernetically engineered personality of their own 
creation, and interact in a novel way.

Communication systems: A Comparison along a set of major axes

This document explores the elements of communication 
systems along a number of axes. It talks about 
synchronicity, which is concerned with the related timing of 
the delivery of a message and possibly a reply message. For 
example, email messages are not always immediately received 
after being sent. A user may read an email several seconds 
after its been sent, hours, or may be never. In a system 
such as instant messanging, the idea is that users are aware 
of the presence and ability to send real-time messages to one 
another allowing for line of communication more so resembling 
face-to-face conversation than email. Another parameter 
discussed was history, which related to how and if the 
history of a communication line is stored. It discussed the 
ways in which graphics are incorporated into communication 
systems, how messages may be sent on a one-to-one or one-to-
many mapping, and finally discusses how systems may include 
abstract elements rather than purely trying to model physical 
world communication. I think it was an interesting paper to 
read as it provided a clear understanding of some of the 
salient elements of communication.