Mark Aakhusaakhus@rutgers.edu (848) 932-7168
A special issue of MIS Quarterly edited by Aakhus, Ågerfalk, Lyytinen, and Te’eni challenges researchers to consider what makes media social. Their introductory essay argues that as humans find ever more sophisticated ways to integrate symbolic action into technical systems and technical systems into symbolic action there is a commensurate need to advance our methods and concepts for engaging the deep computerization of social life that blurs old dualisms between physical and social, material and digital, and signifier and signified. These issues are taken up in three novel empirical studies: Ludwig et al, in “Take Their Word for It: The Symbolic Role of Linguistic Style Matches in User Communities,” develop algorithms for detecting and mapping the evolutionary trends of linguistic style matching and reversals in the micro- sequences of contributions by user community participants. Boyer et al., in “Beyond Being There: The Symbolic Role of Communication and Identification in Perceptions of Proximity to Geographically Dispersed Colleagues,” investigate the meaning of distance in managing virtual work. Beck et al., in “Knowledge Exchange and Symbolic Action in Social Media-Enabled Electronic Networks of Practice: A Multilevel Perspective on Knowledge Seekers and Contributors,” quantitatively explore the consequences of discursive relationships between knowledge seekers and contributors on knowledge exchange.