From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

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New Media and Society

A new issue of New Media and Society is out, with an essay called Cellphones in public: social interactions in a wireless era. It resonates with a number of the themes that came up during yesterday's seminar discussion.

Cellphones provide a unique opportunity to examine how new media both reflect and affect the social world. This study suggests that people map their understanding of common social rules and dilemmas onto new technologies. Over time, these interactions create and reflect a new social landscape. Based upon a year-long observational field study and in-depth interviews, this article examines cellphone usage from two main perspectives: how social norms of interaction in public spaces change and remain the same; and how cellphones become markers for social relations and reflect tacit pre-existing power relations. Informed by Goffman's concept of cross talk and Hopper's caller hegemony, the article analyzes the modifications, innovations and violations of cellphone usage on tacit codes of social interactions.

Another enticing essay is called Email forwardables: folklore in the age of the internetMarjorie D. Kibby

Email communication fosters an environment where messages have an inherent ”ňútruth value’ while at the same time senders have reduced inhibitions about the types of messages sent. When this is combined with a convenience and ease of communication and an ability to contact huge numbers of people simultaneously, email becomes a rapid and effective distribution mechanism for gossip, rumour and urban legends. Email has enabled not only the birth of new folklore, but also the revival of older stories with contemporary relevance and has facilitated their distribution on an unprecedented scale.

Submitted by jbleecker on December 8, 2005 - 7:59pm

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