[Air-l] ICE-T again

Barry Wellman wellman at chass.utoronto.ca
Tue Jul 10 15:25:15 PDT 2007

The last Aoir digest suggests that the response to my ICE-T proposal has
run its course. As you may recall, I suggested Exchange be added to
Information and Communication.

I haven't archived or done heavy analysis, but the response on This List
was unenthusiastic. More interesting to me were the reasons.

Basically, "everything is communication" (Luhmannites), etc, or
"everything is information:

I wish the proponents of each would duke it out (we could make a YouTube
video), but I won't join either camp.

You can expand any definition of information or communciation to include
anything. I could as easily as say (as a sociologist) that all is social
organization and social relations.

Take for example, sex: certainly, it is communication and social
relations, and for the unprotected, all that DNA information is exchanged
(after phone numbers). But like Carrie Bradshaw, I think more is gained by
keeping sexual relations as a separate category.

Where I made a mistake, by aiming for cute memorability, was the Exchange
part for ICE-T. What I was really after was E-Commerce, especially the
sending/selling and receiving/buying of Things. So we might call the E:
"E-Commerce Technologies" to preserve the ICE-T. And if you think that
such behaviour boils down to info or comm, go have it out with the

Which leads me to the larger point: do we need to disaggregate I and C? I
work a lot in the C world, and it seems to me that interpersonal
communication (on/offline) is different from civic involvement (what
social network analysts call 2-mode connectivity -- person:organization).

 Barry Wellman

  S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, FRSC              NetLab Director
  Centre for Urban & Community Studies           University of Toronto
  455 Spadina Avenue    Toronto Canada M5S 2G8     fax:+1-416-978-7162
  wellman at chass.utoronto.ca   http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman
             For fun -- updating songs, movies and history:
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