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A Study of New Communication Technologies and Civic Engagement : A Time to Reconceptualize the Research Constructs?
Unformatted Document Text:  19 vast majority of these contacts have been initially acquired through direct interpersonal communication with other people and electronic media are subsequently used just to maintain these relationships. There is, however, another category of relationships that have been initiated and maintained only in the virtual world; current evidence suggests that such online social ties are weaker than traditional ties, but they also show less constraints of spatial proximity (Marsden 2001) New Communication Policy Finally, it is important to emphasize that throughout the history, the nature and characteristics of the electronic media have not been determined by human needs and technological innovation only; frequently, government policies and economic interests have picked winners and losers in the media game. Thus, it is imperative that our program of research produces findings that can used to guide our public policy initiatives in the right direction. For instance, a recent Aspen Institute report (Entman 2001) suggests a new approach to communication policy in the age of media convergence and transition to an IP media environment. The report clarifies the existing confusion in the domain of media regulation by differentiating between the technical layers of the communication system and using them as the bases for regulatory action. The proposed model features four layers that can be used to define any IP-based communication technology: • Data link (interconnection point; e.g. cable, coaxial, wireless) • Network (routing protocols and structure)

Authors: Skoric, Marko.
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vast majority of these contacts have been initially acquired through direct interpersonal
communication with other people and electronic media are subsequently used just to
maintain these relationships. There is, however, another category of relationships that
have been initiated and maintained only in the virtual world; current evidence suggests
that such online social ties are weaker than traditional ties, but they also show less
constraints of spatial proximity (Marsden 2001)
New Communication Policy
Finally, it is important to emphasize that throughout the history, the nature and
characteristics of the electronic media have not been determined by human needs and
technological innovation only; frequently, government policies and economic interests
have picked winners and losers in the media game. Thus, it is imperative that our
program of research produces findings that can used to guide our public policy initiatives
in the right direction. For instance, a recent Aspen Institute report (Entman 2001)
suggests a new approach to communication policy in the age of media convergence and
transition to an IP media environment. The report clarifies the existing confusion in the
domain of media regulation by differentiating between the technical layers of the
communication system and using them as the bases for regulatory action. The proposed
model features four layers that can be used to define any IP-based communication
technology:
Data link (interconnection point; e.g. cable, coaxial, wireless)
Network (routing protocols and structure)


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