Chapter 19 starts out with describing different genres of email: personal correspondence, public announcements, discussion lists, and e-conferences. “It is a social site where messages, rather than people, meet.” This chapter lays out how email has changed cyberspace. It is interesting to note that email is in the middle of the telephone and the letter, where email is instantaneous like the telephone yet in textual form like the letter. The virtual community that uses email uses codes. Email converts speaking into virtual conversations, even using informal and abbreviated language being allowed. Although there are so many positives to the new form of email, there are some negatives. One negative is what Andrea Ovans calls “the pitfalls of the memo culture.” This means that people can lie and say they never received an email, delete them, or just answer the emails that they want. Emails have a more casual feeling than that of letters and it is also easier to see which emails are important based on the subject or email address. Reading one section of this chapter reminded me of how I went to college and came home with a new nickname. With email, someone can change their identity any way they want, just as I have in college. Another interesting fact is that in 1994, 87% of males dominated discussion groups. Judith Lee mentions that flaming is something that can happen over email, but it never lasts long because it is not always a synchronous form of CMC. There is also something called email redundancy, where subject line is like a publicity release, but may not have anything to do with the actual message being conveyed. Emails can also lack substance, but there is something that email can do that letters or telephone cannot. Simply adding an important part of the last message into the new message can show what exactly that person is responding to, so that it is not necessary to have to go back to the previous email. The best part about email is the accepted slang words and mock-oral writing. One example of this is: “Trying to get ahold of you but the address aint working.” If people think that email can be often monotone and cannot show emotion, emoticons are the perfect way to counter that argument.
Chapter 20 discusses the reasons for flaming in cyberspace. Flaming can be defined as, “to speak rabidly or incessantly on an uninteresting topic or with a patently ridiculous attitude.” There are many definitions in this chapter, but that is one of the earliest ones. There are many reasons for flaming. For one, some experience an erosion of self-control by being in a whole different “world.” Another is the social presence theory, where social presence is no longer needed for CMC communication. A third is the information richness theory. A new way of addressing flaming and its weaknesses of old models is called the social influence model on technology use. Media features and prior use of other media are two factors influencing the interpretation of flaming. Goodwin suggested, “Flames are the friction born of minds rubbing too closely together.”
Chapter 12 is about using multimedia simulation for communication education. One important use for communication education is that students can go at the exact pace they want and also focus on the weaknesses. Human factors, visual factors, auditory factors, and social factors are all reasons for why multimedia simulation is the best way for communication education. Virtual learning experiences are way more active than traditional learning environments. Being interactive is the best way in my opinion as students grow and their minds expand.
Paul Levinson wrote chapter 13 called “online education unbound.” Governments and corporate sites first used the computer as a communication tool in the 1960’s and 1970’s. By the time I was born, in the beginning in the 1990’s, more and more people had personal computers in their home and have developed immensely since. The process of online education works like email. Online college courses have become extremely popular in this new era. Geography is obviously the first advantage to this experience because not everyone is forced to be in the same geographic area to take an online course. Time, retention, economics, teacher domination, and physical disability are all other advantages for online education as well. With advantages, come disadvantages. Some disadvantages include no panacea, the comfort level in writing must be high, not all subjects can be taught online, there is no campus life, and distractions like television and online social networks/websites/games.