Internet users participate in discussion groups by âpostingâ messages to one of the thousands of newsgroups carried by their Internet site. These newsgroups form what is commonly called the Usenet. Their messages, or âposts.â are then disseminated to all Internet sites carrying that newsgroup. Others may respond to a particular message, thereby creating a âthread or connected series of messages, or they may read without responding (called âlurkingâ). Newsgroups are loosely organized into general categories, called âhierarchies,â such as âcompâ (issues dealing with computing), âsciâ(science), ârecâ (recreation), âsocâ (social and cultural activities), and âaltâ (groups that cover such a wide range of topics that only the term âalternativeâ seems to include all of them). Thus, the group âalt.bonsaiâ is devoted to the art of bonsai, while the group ârec.sport.hockeyâ is for hockey fans. Malcolm Parks (PhD, Michigan State University, 1976) is associate professor of Speech Communication at the University of Washington. Kory Floyd is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at the University of Arizona. This research was supported by a grant from the Graduate School Fund of the University of Washington. Copyright 0 1996Journal o Communication 46(1), Winter. 0021-9916/96/$5.00 f Symposium /Making Friends in Cyberspace
Journal of Communication – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 1996
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