CMC musings

There were many intriguing points in the Walther article, but I’m hung up on the notion of "text" in this article.  Written in 1996, Walther is clearly referring to the written word when he talks about text. At the same time, throughout the article I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not the theories and hypotheses that Walther presents would be valid with an expanded, multimodal definition of "text".  As Gina also points out, while the written word is still the dominant text form on the web today, faster processors, better graphics cards, and high-speed Internet access have contributed to an increasingly multimedia Internet – just think Flickr, YouTube, and the fact that I can catch up with Heroes online when I miss in on TV, not to mention virtual environments like Second Life where the "me-as-text" that "I" can present includes visual, gestural, and auditory information as well (p. 21).  Will it still hold true that "in computer networks, one’s social currency is based not on riches but on the information he or she manages and the wit with which it is given" (p. 20)?  (This quote I found fascinating, by the way – in some ways, I think that the introduction of the physical body via image or video has less of an impact than the way in which it is presented.  Look at Perez Hilton, or any other person who has gained fame through blogging and crossed over into visual media and/or the "real world"; wit, and a way with words, are to a certain extent the coin of that realm.) The seeds for this analysis are still probably to be found in Walther, but it’s something to think more about.


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