Mat Yapchaian


Electropolis: Communication and Community on Internet Relay Chat and Connections: New Ways of Working in the Networked Organization


Both of these articles are “outdated”.  The content of their documents does not compromise their importance as moments in a shared thought just as a Chaplin film is not excluded from contemporary discussions of cinema.


Both papers explored human behavior mediated by electronic communication. Electropolis focused on more informal, recreational situations where Connections’ data was from the business world.


While reading Electropolis I was comparing “talking” to “car”. The word car is an appropriated and abbreviated term from previous technology (stage-car, horse drawn cart) just as “talking” in IRC is appropriated from traditional forms of face-to-face dialog.


In Connections I was unsure of the “test groups”; what business will allow an “official” discussion environment to exist without a hierarchy?


I was interested in the human behavior exhibited by the “professionals” in Connections compared to the IRC users.  The professionals treated the text as text, a structure.

“Researchers of human behavior on computer-mediated communication systems have often noted that users of such systems tend to behave in a more uninhibited manner than they would in face-to-face encounters.” [Electropolis] The professionals’ negative reactions in the electronic arena were more “real” because a professional barrier was removed and there was no “consequence” for their unprofessional behavior. The appropriation of text by IRC users became an extension of the user’s emotions and subconscious. 


“Internet Relay Chat is synchronous, as is face-to-face interaction, but it is unable to transmit aspects of speech that conventions of synchronous communication demand.” [Electropolis]


IRC created an artificial reality, a new world with new rules. “Hehehe”s and icons created from certain combinations of characters and punctuation created new forms of computer-mediated communication language.  Today a colon and right bracket are intuitive in text messaging, IMing, email, and other forms of communication. In the business world the computer-mediated communication devices became tools rather than environments.


Friendster is an example of a computer-mediated environment where traditional “real world” social barriers are replaced with new barriers, specific to the environment, enabling people communicate with people.


Both of these articles are important for us today to understand not only the history of technology but the history of “culture” and community” related to a specific technology.


“The safety of anonymity can ‘reduce self-consciousness and promote intimacy’ between people who might not otherwise have had the chance to become close.” Electropolis  This quote articulates the function of the telephone booth in my project proposal from last week.



Communication Systems: A Comparison Along a Set of Major Axes


The experience of reading Communication Systems: A Comparison Along a Set of Major Axes was different from previous articles because it was not a PDF. The dead links dated this article and made the reader conscious that some technology (text messaging) may not be included in the article. Text messaging aside, the article is a thorough list of computer-mediated communication devices and their relationship between individual and group computer-mediated communication.


“Electronic media is malleable.”


Te dead links are evidence of this. Incapable of accessing particular links I am unable to complete the reading as intended by the author. Is it my responsibility to Google search the keyword assigned to the link and substitute content?


Before this article I never associated the telegraph with informal communication. Text messaging, at times, implies telegraph like communications.


Mat: connect at 9, bru

Sai:  ok


The Synchronicity section gave an overview of computer-mediated communication devices and their behaviors. This section made all of the computer-mediated content relevant to the reader’s already existing relationship with communication.


I explored many of the themes discussed in this article with EIS, a “suggestion” piece I created. (Included with email)  EIS will continue my discussion of issues raised in Communication Systems: A Comparison Along a Set of Major Axes.