A Diacritical Study in Web Design: Communicability Versus Statistical Manipulation

A Diacritical Study in Web Design: Communicability Versus Statistical Manipulation

Francisco Vicente Cipolla Ficarra (HCI Lab. – F&F Multimedia Communic@tions Corp., ALAIPO (Latin Association International of Human-Computer Interaction) and AInCI (International Association of Interactive Communication), Spain) and Maria Valeria Ficarra (AInCI (International Association of Interactive Communication) and ALAIPO (Latin Association International of Human-Computer Interaction), Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-763-3.ch005
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Abstract

In the current chapter the authors present a heuristic and diacritical analysis of the communicability in Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 carried out in the contents of the websites of Southern Europe, especially between Italy and Spain. The real examples that will be presented are related to the loss of the veracity of on-line information and the decay of credibility of the traditional information sources, such as digital newspapers, university context and the industrial or commercial sector. These results are directly related to the statistical aspect and the new phenomenon of the star enunciator and the use of statistics in the Internet, especially in websites such as university websites, social networks, digital newpapers and magazines, portals, etc., whose consequence in the short and middle term may be the total destruction of transparency in the communication process among the users of the interactive systems and the freedom of access to true online information.
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Introduction

The advances of the software and the hardware in the first years of the new millenium are continuous and tend, in the multimedia or hypermedia systems, towards a merger in devices of small size, such as laptops, tablet PCs, e-books, pocket PCs, iPhones or rather the distribution of servers in each of the homes of the users, with the purpose of boosting the intelligent home, e-learning, telework, e-commerce, virtual tourism, videogames, etc. In all these advances in the interactive systems there is a continuous advance in algorithms (Dileep, Yeonseung & Hyksoo, 2008), interfaces (Shneiderman, 2005), use of the new technologies (Cameron, 2009), etc. However, all these breakthroughs have a weak point: the veracity of the on-line contents. In the generation of the virtual communities and the lack of control in the websites it can be seen that the users are not subject to quality rules concerning the quality of the information offered in those communities. These quality rules are not respected neither at individual, nor at group or collective level. The problem gets bigger when the public institutions devoted to teaching or industrial/commercial groups foster this lack of transparency through the appearance and the implicit go-ahead of the behaviour of the “star enunciators”.

The term “enunciator” derives from linguistics, semiotics and sociology, whereas the notion of “star” refers to negative behaviour and the superior position of this enunciator with regard to the remaining Internet users, that is, as if he were a Hollywood star in the movies. These enunciators have as their goal persuasion, manipulation and fascination towards the global village. The purpose is to acquire the greatest visibility in the on-line community, and in the least possible time. He will reach this goal through the last generation technological means: iPod, mobile phone multimedia, Web 2.0, etc. The costs for him or her are practically equal to zero, because he/she has a high hierarchy in the line of command of the public and/or private institutions. Consequently, we have gone in the Internet from a flat or plain structure to an irregular and steep one. That is to say, the star enunciators occupy the summits of those mountains that are generally built by rising or throwing a node inside the net. We have an evolution of this phenomenon in the following graphic:

Figure 1.

As if somebody pulled from a node turning it into a cobweb with the shape of a pyramid. At this summit node our star enunciator is to be found

Besides, we understand as a ‘virtual community’ the number of users who continuously participate in chats, videoconferences, etc. in the Internet or intranet, whether it is in long distance courses, semipresential courses, etc. or other users, with the purpose of establishing bidirectional interactive communication links among them. In the case of Internet, these users establish additional links thanks to the Web 2.0 phenomenon with applications such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Naymz, etc.

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