[Air-l] ICE-T again

Alexander Kuskis alex.kuskis at netscape.ca
Wed Jul 11 17:59:21 PDT 2007

I don't think we need to bother with the dismal science in understanding the
link between communication and commerce. They have had a close relationship
at least since the invention of writing in Mesopotamia during the late 4th
century BC. Denise Schmandt-Besserat has traced the origin of writing itself
to the symbols and markings made on clay tokens used for accounting purposes
in the 4th Century BC Middle East, roughly jn the area where Iraq is today.
See http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/excerpts/exschhop.html . Furthermore,
business has been quick to adopt every major communication technology, from
Gutenberg's printing press up to our own era. The Internet is something of
an exception in this regard, because commercial applications were explicitly
forbidden during its ARPANET and later NSF days. But business has more than
made up for it since. We need not invoke McLuhan's identification of money
as a communication medium itself to understand commerce as communication.
E-commerce, like e-learning, is simply a major application of ICT. Can
anyone name a communication technology that has not been used for commercial

Alex Kuskis, PhD
Adjunct Professor
MA Progam in Communication & Leadership
School of Professional Studies
Gonzaga University

-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
[mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Barry Wellman
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 3:25 PM
To: aoir list
Subject: [Air-l] ICE-T again

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

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