Monday, February 12, 2007

midterm assignment

Comm 321 Midterm Paper Assignment
Due Date: March 8, 2007 by end of class

Relationships and CMC
Your paper must be based on the assigned readings on these topics. You should also include additional sources, but to satisfy the assignment your paper must clearly demonstrate that you have read and integrated the specific assigned material into your approach to the topic. The primary criterion for grading the paper will be how well you have used the reading materials to answer the questions posed.

Paper Length: 6-8 pages
References: Minimum of eight articles.

Assignment: Drawing upon your personal experiences (your blog, your social network profile, your “wild card” community, and even your email interaction), please examine how computer-mediated communication contributes to the formation and maintenance of relationships. What is different about relationships formed and maintained through CMC, as compared to face-to-face, and what is the same? In what ways is our ability to express ourselves constrained or expanded through virtual communication? How have the communities you participate in contributed to the process of identity formation? What constitutes a successful virtual community and what failures have you recognized? Use concrete examples from your experiences on Blogger, Myspace and Facebook, SecondLife, Youtube, Wikipedia, etc.

In addition to the assigned readings, feel free to also use the articles and books below as the source material for your paper. You may also search for additional relevant sources though Lexis-Nexis, the USC library, and the E-Resources available through USC’s library (

Baker, P. (2001). Moral panic and alternative identity construction in usenet. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication [On-line], 7 (1). Available:

Birnie, S. A., & Horvath, P. (2002). Psychological predictors of Internet social communication. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication [On-line], 7 (4). Available:

Boneva, K., Kraut, R., & Frolich, D. (2001). Using e-mail for personal relationships. The difference gender makes. Available:

Flanagin, A., Tiaamornwong, V., O'Connor, J., & Seibold, D. (2002). Computer-mediated group work: The interaction of member sex and anonymity. Communication Research, Vol 29(1), 66-93. Available:

Krikorian, D.H., Lee, J-S., Chock, T.M., & Harms, C. (2000). Isn't that spatial?: Distance and communication in a 2-D virtual environment. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication [On-line], 5 (4). Available:

Knox, D., Daniels, V., Sturdivant, L., Susman, M. E. (2001). College student use of the Internet for mate selection. College Student Journal, 35 (1), 158-160. Available:

McKenna, K. Y. A., Green, A. S., & Gleason, M. E. J. (2002). Relationship formation on the Internet: What's the big attraction? Journal of Social Issues, Vol 58(1), Spr 2002, 9-31. Available:

Parks, M.R., & Floyd, K. (1996). Making friends in cyberspace. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication [On-line], 1 (4). Available:

Putnam, R.D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Touchstone.

Walther, J., Slovacek, C., & Tidwell, L. (2001). Is a picture worth a thousand words?: Photographic images in long-term and short-term computer-mediated communication. Communication Research, Vol 28(1), 105-134. Available:

Wellman, B., et al. 2001. Does the Internet increase, decrease, or supplement social capital? Social networks, participation, and community commitment. American Behavioral Scientist 45(November):437-456.

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