many speaking to many

. . . at the tuesday cafe

Electronic discourse, or CMC (computer-mediated communication), is different from oral and print communication in that many people can talk to many other people, all at the same time, with everybody talking all at once and the software handling the sequencing. The babble, the constant stream of language in an environment like the Tuesday Cafe, is typical of electronic discourse in general. Howard Rheingold calls it many-to-many communication, and he calls networked computers "many-to-many group communications devices" (12).

Many-to-many communication is different from one-to-one communication like

It is different from one-to-many communication like

Many-to-many discourse is necessarily multi-threaded. People new to electronic discourse can find the diffuseness frustrating or even alienating, but I think most people not only get used to it--they come to love it.

If Ray Oldenburg is right when he says that communities are built out of the conversations in third places, then a virtual community like the one that meets at the Tuesday Cafe is characterized by this potential that everybody has of being able to speak to everybody else. Not everybody does speak, though: some people lurk, not exercising their right to write, and some can feel closed out by some of the disadvantages MOOing can offer, especially to beginners, poor writers or typists, and people with unreliable connections to the Net.

Introduction to the Tuesday Cafe.
What is the Tuesday Cafe?
What are some of the benefits offered by this kind of community?
What are some of the disadvantages of MOO discussions?
How do people get to the Cafe?
Works Cited

Last updated: 10 June 1996. Questions and comments? Please e-mail Sharon Cogdill at