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The necessity of control for computer and internet users with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome

Best, K. and Butler, S. (2012) The necessity of control for computer and internet users with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Information, Communication & Society, 16 (7). pp. 1042-1060.

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In this article, the authors present results from an ongoing study of individuals with ME/CFS who are using the virtual reality site, Second Life, as a medium for social support networks. We expand on Norman, Hartson and Best's categories of affordances by proposing an additional four tiered framework for the categorization of types of communication breakdowns that occur in human–computer interactions. The four proposed categories are: human–computer; computer–network; human–network; and finally, technologically mediated human–human. This proposed mode of categorizing the data allows for a greater depth of analysis into the causes of complex communication errors, and participants' reactions to these disruptions in relation to their experiences of control. Each of the four categories is assessed according to the types of affordances indicated in the technological issues and whether they were reported as positive or negative by the participants of the study. The information is then analyzed according to the categories of users' attitudes toward technology (2007). The final level of communication error, that between human participants in technologically mediated conversation, leads to the positing of three categories of users: audio communicators; textual communicators; and flexible communicators. These conflicting communication preferences, or needs, are found to have a profoundly negative impact on group dynamics.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
Copyright: 2012 Taylor & Francis
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