Alan Holmes, Latrobe: Virtuosity: techniques, procedures & skills for effective virtual communications


The technically non-savvy have lots of misunderstandings about how to use the Internet. Much is taken for granted in face-to-face -- visual cues. Absent those cues, different strategies are needed to make communication effective.

Survey, 26 interviews, of people spending more than 60 hrs/wk online.

  • Initiation,
  • Experimentation (to establish, in a feedback loop,
    • Efficiency,
    • Identity, and
    • Networking),
  • Integration.

These steps apply to any new tool.

intrinsic factors (technophobic?), extrinsic factors (drivers, availability of assistance)

how present myself to the world;
socialisation, developing group norms.

  • enhance life (improve what you do, as driver);
  • limiting own usage (avoiding isolation, stress and burnout);
  • technology usage (media manipulation, convergence)

Typology of high end users:

  • New Frontiersmen (early adopters, male, utopians; have self-limited their usage, disillusioned with how others have used internet; are no longer big socialisers);
  • Pragmatic Enterpreneurs (small business, mainly women, net is mechanism for business, have multiple businesses, little exploring and socialising, have relative or friend to provide tech assistance, are very protective of computer and physical environment)
  • Technicians (like gadgets, mainly male, net is huge library, work in IT, disparage most people's use of net; distrust net-based non-verifiable info; like strategy games but not to socialise; into anime & scifi tv; aware of addiction and actively self-limit);
  • Virtual Workers (the virtual environment is just a workspace; even gender split; separate virtual persona from real life; use net for info and trust it; good at manipulating virtual environment; focus on speed & efficiency)
  • Entertainers (the Net is a carnival; even gender split; lots of socialising games incl. poker; dating, download, contact, socialising; love the newness of the Net, early adopters of SecondLife and social networking sites, and move on quickly to next thing; unaware of addiction, and tend to social isolation in real life);
  • Social Networkers (the Net is all about me; mainly women under 25; the Net allows them to stay in contact with friends; not open to communicating outside narrow circle; not fussed about privacy; outgoing, share info, gossip, photos; use the Net as proof and way to brag; love the tech convergence which helps them document their lives; don't like downloading stuff -- takes too long)

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