your project (formerly seminar 20)
early days of the internet
et al., 1998) showed that the internet caused anxiety, depression
and social alienation if used for extended periods. This was in the
days when people were first finding out about the internet and were
indulging in excessive browsing, etc. To some extent users were cutting
themselves off from people around them to get in touch with people they
had never met before. Kraut suggested that this caused “weak social
ties”. This is similar to the earlier days of television, which
was blamed for cutting down social involvement of individuals. Nowadays
though, TV is universal and much social interaction is based around
shared knowledge of what we see on TV. Internet browsers however are
fewer than TV viewers, and are less likely to compare web browsing experiences
than TV viewers (at least at the current stage of web development) (further
analysed in Slevin, 2000: 167-172).
contrast though, Kraut also compared the internet to the telephone.
When browsers used e-mail, list and chat facilities more, web use became
more interactive and hence was more similar to telephone use than television
use. With this type of use it is possible to create new “strong
social ties”. Projects such as Safe and Smart also discovered
that people, especially children and parents, were beginning to share
internet experiences for learning and information purposes.
many web and internet resources and facilities today are based on shared
user experience and bringing people together for a common purpose. The
project that I was (and still am) involved in in South East Asia (Project
ELLSA) was designed specifically to bring students and teachers together
in classrooms, conferences and through e-mail in at least four different
countries. The reality is that while some of the expected users did
not use the project at all, other users appeared by chance from as far
afield as Israel, the USA and the UAE. As such, when creating an information
based resource on the web, it is very difficult to predict how many
people will use the site.
about your own project, the topic you chose may not be directly related
to your other modules and may even be a fairly new area of information
for you. To what extent has this team work allowed you to open up
a new or existing area of research and communication?
this topic related to study or work you will do when you return home?
it is not, what value does the information have in terms of your personal
it holds little value in this respect, do the communication strategies
you have worked with suggest that you would be able to put together
other projects that may be more directly related to personal, academic
or professional interests?
of the page
are some important points to think about if you want to maintain and
network your project after leaving UWA.
your site to CD ROM. If you don't have access to a CD writer, the
Data Prep office (on the top floor of the Llandinam Building)
can write your M Drive or W drive to CD ROM. It can then be transferred
easily to any server in the world.
your site with search engines. This is free. Choose the search engines
you prefer, e.g. Google, Yahoo, etc. On each site there
is a link to register your site. Fill it in. Browsers looking for
information on your topic may then be able to use your pages anywhere.
a current e-mail address or contact details on your page.
e-mails to owners of like-minded web-sites and offer to exchange links.
a web-ring for your subject. You can find web-rings either by links
from other web-sites or by searching specifically. This guarantees
that your site will be visited by quite a lot of interested people.
your own links page and add all the useful sites you know. Not just
on the topic of your project, but on anything you think users will
find useful. The two things that keep people coming back to small
sites are a good list of links, and anything that is free and downloadable
(do you have anything that is copyright free that can be downloaded?).
professional organisation and government web-sites for research grants
in your subject area. There is quite a lot out there. You may be able
to create a web-based project that earns money and academic recognition
at the same time.
a web counter on your site to see how many visitors you are getting.
If you are on a network where you can get access to statistics, you
can find out where people access your site from as well. It’s
surprising where they come from. On the Aberystwyth server, statistics
can be viewed at http://users.aber.ac.uk This site also has some guidelines
and tips for creating sites. You are already indexed here.
of these ideas support the development of strong social ties in internet
use. They also have a commercial spin off potential in that you may
be able to pick up some work as a freelance web designer for small
businesses. Not only in your area but also around the world. My own
web design experience started by creating a web page for an English
language teaching conference in Thailand. From that conference I secured
a small commercial web project for a multimedia language training
company in Germany. From that experience I secured the Project ELLSA
contract from the United States Information Agency and a tourism PowerPoint
project for ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations).
luck networking your site…
of the page
R., Lundmark, V., Patterson, M., Kiesler, S., Mukopadhyay, T. &
Scherlis, W. “Internet Paradox: A Social Technology that Reduces
Social Involvement and Psychological Well-Being?” In American
Psychologist, Vol. 53, No. 9, September, 1998. Pp 1017-1031.
Also available on-line at http://www.apa.org/journals/amp/amp5391017.html
J. & Taschner, J. (1999). “Project ELLSA: Electronic Literature
and Language in Southeast Asia”. Commissioned by United States
School Boards Foundation (2000). “Safe and Smart: Research and
Guidelines for Children’s Use of the Internet.” http://www.nsbf.org/safe-smart/full-report.htm
J. (2000). The Internet and Society. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Highly recommended reading
Nielsen’s web-site—Usable Information Technology (Useit):