[Air-l] Internet Modes of Experience

amarkham amarkham at uic.edu
Thu Dec 19 04:52:01 PST 2002

Hi Chris,

Your question is a good one:

I am guessing that because of
>these technological developments more people are
>perceiving the Internet as a place or a state of
Has the perception of the medium
>begun to change due to technological developments that
>have increased accessibility ?

I don't have the answer, but it raises interesting discussion.  My early 
morning thoughts drift this way:  The cause/effect is not easily determined.  
One's perception of the medium as Tool or Place or Way of Being may be due to 
the technology, or it may be due to the interactions/relationships that 
develop, or it may be due to a combination of both and other factors.

The typically academic thought, "it depends" pops into my head.  If the 
technology one uses is apparent or present, one's experience of the medium 
will be different than for someone for whom the technology is transparent.  
And the technology may be more *present* in some contexts versus others; take 
for example students in online classes who might find internet technologies 
completely transparent in their everyday conversations with friends, but when 
they perceive the context to be a classroom, find the technology rushing into 
the foreground, interfering with their ability to communicate.

One's experience depends on the frame of reference, the context, and multiple 
other factors.....from my perspective, it is impossible to generalize the 
experiential frame or the causal agent for current frames.  Having said that, 
I believe it's still useful to ask the question.

What is the context in which you're thinking about the shift in access and 
associated perception of the medium?


Annette N. Markham, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication (M/C 132)
1007 W. Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60607-7137

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