Thunderwire: A Field Study of an Audio-only Media Space

TitleThunderwire: A Field Study of an Audio-only Media Space
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsHindus, D, Ackerman, MS, Mainwaring, SD, Starr, B
Conference NameProceedings of the 1996 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW'96)
Keywordsaudio, audio spaces, CMC, computer-mediated communication, electronic social spaces, media spaces, mediated communication, norms, rich interactions, social interactions, social presence, speech interactions, telepresence

To explore the potential of using audio by itself in a shared media system, we studied a workgroup using an audio-only media space. This media space, called Thunderwire, combined high-quality audio with open connections to create a shared space for its users. The two-month field study provided a richly nuanced understanding of this audio space's social use. The system afforded rich sociable interactions. Indeed, within the field study, audio by itself afforded a telepresent environment for its users. However while a usable media space and a useful social space, Thunderwire required its users to adapt to many audio-only conditions.