OUP accepted manuscript

2019 Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication  
At a time when nearly all social activities could be, and likely are, mediated in some ways by some forms of computing technology, what should be the focus of CMC research? How do we theorize and study computer-mediated (or should we say digitally-mediated) communication when the topics of our research-the technology, the concepts and processes of mediation, our sense of what constitutes communication, as well as the theories and methods used to examine these-are all in flux? Early in the
more » ... of 2018, the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication invited scholars to submit ideas for a dedicated issue to consider these questions. The collection of meta-theoretical discussions, literature reviews/analyses, and concept explications included in this special issue will point to a general direction and offer a launching point for theory construction and systematic research in a continuously evolving field. The tension between technological developments and related social processes raises the question of how we should conceive of, theorize, and study technology, mediation, and communication. In the quarter-century since the founding of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, a central question concerning this area of research has shifted from "what is computer-mediated communication?" to "what isn't?" In 1994, personal computers were bulky, desk-top, and hence stationary terminals. The Internet was only finding its purchase in society. Text-based Usenet and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) were common platforms. Email (or electronic-mail) was considered cutting-edge communication. Online social networking sites were still in the distant future, and short message service (SMS) was just debuting
doi:10.1093/jcmc/zmz027 fatcat:2m6vijzea5fk3eev3l7w6l3hmq