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Digital Media

Transformations in Human Communication

Edited By Paul Messaris and Lee Humphreys

The age of digital media has given rise to a new social world. It is a world in which the transmission of information from the few to the many is steadily being supplanted by the multi-directional flow of facts, lies, and ideas. It is a world in which hundreds of millions of people are voluntarily depositing large amounts of personal details in publicly accessible databases. It is a world in which interpersonal relationships are increasingly being conducted in the virtual sphere. Above all, this is a world that seems to be veering off in unpredictable ways from the trends of the immediate past. This book is a probing examination of that world, and of the changes that it has ushered into our lives.

In more than thirty essays by a wide range of scholars, this must-have second edition examines the impact of digital media in six areas – information, persuasion, community, gender and sexuality, surveillance and privacy, and cross-cultural communication – and offers an invaluable guide for students and scholars alike. With one exception, all essays are completely new or revised for this volume.

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The first edition of Digital Media owes its existence to Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, who secured the funds for a conference that led to the publication of the book. We will always be grateful to Professor Jameson for her generosity and her inspiring leadership.

For this second edition of our book, we owe a major debt of gratitude to Mary Savigar, Senior Acquisitions Editor at Peter Lang. Without her steadfast encouragement and discerning guidance, this new edition would never have seen the light of day. It is a pleasure to have this opportunity to thank her. Our interactions with Peter Lang were also facilitated by the efficient assistance of Sophie Appel, Stephen Mazur, and our anonymous copyeditor, to all of whom we wish to express our appreciation and many thanks.

A book project that brings together the work of a large number of authors can succeed only if each author’s contribution meets the needs of the whole. We are profoundly grateful to the wonderful group of people whose scholarship resulted in this book, and who contributed such an informative, thoughtful, and vigorously argued collection of essays and studies.

During the course of this book’s development, our task was made much easier by the congenial environments in which both of us are fortunate to be working. Lee Humphreys would like to acknowledge the support of the Department of Communication at Cornell University...

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