Friday, September 9, 2011

Categorizing and identifying CMC tools

Computer Mediated Communication does not exist in a vacuum. CMC consists of both the tools of communication (apps, software, equipment) and the process of communication (sending and receiving of messages). It is important, therefore, to try to distinguish how different tools affect communication. A starting point for this blog should be how to make distinctions and analyze a specific tool's affordances.

One framework that can be used is to distinguish between Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0.. While the web 1.0 (emails, webpages, static content) and web 2.0 (blogs, social networking sites) definitions are fairly consistent, the definition for web 3.0 is still in the evolution phase. For some, web 3.0 is the semantic web in which the control of content is based on the computer program which gathers information from the user and customizes it. For others, web 3.0 is the portability of information that can be found, collected, and recreated it multiple sites. One thing that all agree upon is that the web 3.0 is dynamic and restructures data to customize its use by the end user.

Another way to assess the affordance of CMC is to use the categories created by Herring (2007). This consists of two different sets of factors: medium and situation. The medium factors describe the possibilities of a tool (app, software, equipment) whereas the situation describes how a tool might be applied.

A good example of this is facebook. Facebook was originally created as a secure spot in which college students could interact with each other to create a social space. However, others found this secure place to be useful in other ways. Schools/teachers used it as a learning space in which students could keep up with work, share ideas outside of class, and link to resources. Teenagers used facebook to keep in contact with friends outside of school, meet new people both within their school and out, and to keep up with tends and happenings. Businesses began to use facebook to interact with customers and provide customized information to be broadcasted through a network of targeted audiences. The tool itself, the medium, had standard attributes. However, how that tool was used was situated, resulting in different uses of the medium for different situations.

In the weeks to come, students will identify the medium and situate it in their own experience. They may also identify whether a tool falls into the Web 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0 categories.


Herring, S. (Classification) (2007) A Faceted Classification Scheme for Computer-Mediated Discourse. Language@Internet (4). Available at

EPN (2008) Evolution Web 1.0, Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 (video clip on YouTube). Available at:

Nonprofitorgs (2010). Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 Simplified for Nonprofits. Available at:

1 comment:

  1. Here in Australia, other than creating websites, business owners also prioritize having a toll free number from an Australian telecom company of their choice for communication purposes.