This course covers the practical and theoretical issues associated with computer-mediated communication (CMC) systems. CMC includes many different types of technologies such as email, newsgroups, chat, and online games. We will focus on the analysis of CMC practices, the social structures that emerge when people use these applications, and the design and implementation issues associated with constructing CMC technologies.
We will primarily take a social scientific approach to computer-mediated communication (including research from psychology, social psychology, economics, and sociology). We will investigate questions such as: How do we represent identity and perceive others in CMC environments? How are interfaces and visualizations used in CMC to help make sense of relationships? Why do some Wikis "succeed" while others do not? How is the production of open source software such as Linux similar to (and different from) a social movement? Why are reputations useful in some online environments, and not in others? Can we really develop meaningful relationships and perhaps even love-purely through CMC?
This course was previously offered as INFO 290-12.