Hanging on the 'Wire: A Field Study of an Audio-only Media Space
|Title||Hanging on the 'Wire: A Field Study of an Audio-only Media Space|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1997|
|Authors||Ackerman, MS, Starr, B, Hindus, D, Mainwaring, SD|
|Journal||ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction|
|Keywords||audio, audio spaces, CMC, computer-mediated communication, electronic social spaces, media spaces, mediated communication, norms, privacy, rich interactions, social interactions, social presence, speech interactions, telepresence|
The primary focus of this article is an analysis of an audio-only media space from a computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) perspective. To explore whether audio by itself is suitable for shared media systems, we studied a workgroup using an audio-only media space. This media space, called Thunderwire, combined high-quality audio with open connec-tions to create a shared space for its users. The two-month field study provided a richly nuanced understanding of this audio spaces social use. The system afforded rich sociable interactions. As well, users were able to create a useful, usable social space; however, through an analysis of the social norms that the participants formulated, we show that they had to take into account being in an audio-only environment. Within the field study, then, audio by itself was sufficient for a usable media space and a useful social space, but users were forced to adapt to many audio-only and system conditions. The article also considers audios implications for privacy.