REVIEW: Human Communication on the Internet

Elodie Sung Eun SONG

As early adopters of the Internet, Shedletsky and Aitken (2004) suggest us to think about the qualitative aspect of communication on the Internet: how do the Internet and individuals influence each other in the process of communication? The focus is drawn on emerging characteristics of human communication via the Internet. The authors begin their exploration by asking to think of the computer as a pen and a paper – a way to express ourselves such as children’s playing. So, the Internet is described as a communication companion rather than as a mere technological tool; the communication process via the Internet is compared as same as two people are talking face to face. Under this perspective, authors explore the phenomenon of online communication through investigating different areas of our lives such as group discussion, gaming, education, and work places where various online communication patterns can be observed. Fairly, authors’ critical position allows to reveal paradoxical tensions between idealism and reality: on the one hand, communication via the Internet is a unique way to inspire human beings’ mental universe, on the other hand, such a new way of communication brings inherently side effects. The attempt to counterbalance is consistently reflected throughout the book demonstrating polarization of people and the playful metaphor. In other words, exploration in virtual space through self-generating flow that Internet offers can lead people to flourish or perish.

KEYWORDS: Internet, media, intrapersonal communication, self-organizing flow.