[Air-l] e-mail destroying friendships?

Quentin (Gad) Jones qgjones at acm.org
Mon Apr 21 18:21:08 PDT 2003


Charles Ess wrote:
> (a) the ease of forwarding e-mail to large numbers of people, including
> friends of one's friends who likely hold to a large range of views and
> beliefs, perhaps as coupled with
> (b) the relative ease of saying something rhetorically powerful (perhaps too
> powerful, all things considered) in response to such e-mails as they offend
> or contradict - in contrast with the ways in which we may (perhaps because
> of greater experience, prudence, familiarity with "the other," etc.)
> exercise greater rhetorical / social restraint in other contexts (including
> embodied contexts, as these include a range of both verbal and non-verbal
> modes of communication),

I think all of this nicely ties into:
1. Alstyne, M. V. and Brynjolfsson, Erik. "Electronic Communities:
Global Village or Cyber-Balkanization?" Proceedings of the International
Conference on Information Systems, Cleveland, OH. (1996). 
2. My research on online groups and information overload.  See the paper
coming out in ECSCW2003!

The logic is that the internet lets us interact with more social
information, so much so that we have to become more and more selective
about what we read and who we interact with.  Your physical neighbors
and physical colleagues with which you often have face-to-face
interactions with you often do not have that choice.  The result is that
email list differences I would argue are more likely to led to a parting
of the ways.  Although email groups are more stable than usenet
newsgroups.  Hence off topic discussions about Iraq or other political
issues being a problem for many online groups, where as physical groups
may have more stability.  

Quentin




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