When We Speak Online
* The Summary of Legends On the Net
Jan Fernback, the author of Legends On the Net is the professor of Temple University; her research focuses on the influence of the Internet and new communication technology to modern society (“Jan Fernback Chair-Media Studies and Production,” n.d.). Fernback, in her article Legends On the Net (2003), uses urban legends as a main example to explore the existence of oral cultural on the Internet, in order to argue that cyberspace can offer an environment allowing primary oral culture and liberal culture exist together (p. 29). Fernback has divided the article to be five parts - introduction, urban legends as popular cultural texts, contemporary oral culture, cyberspace as a site for oral culture, conclusion - to support the main argument. In the introduction part, the author uses a very interesting online urban legend as the hook to lead into her argument of the cyberspace create an environment that encourages the development of oral culture and urban legends (p. 29 – p. 31). In the second part, the author first defines the term urban legend: a type of folktale that is transmitted by oral and l has differences in detail from one media to another and tells a type of truth. Fernback then uses five different examples of online urban legends to analysis the construction of urban legends; to prove the legends are closely related to life and developed from oral culture. The author finally argues that urban legends do not only exist in ancient world but also present in the cyberspace and are developed. It is because the freedom of the online communication environment (p. 31 – p.36). In the third part, the author introduces the concepts of “orality” – non permanent and “literality” – things can be permanent recorded, which is raised up by Walter Ong. Fernback raises a concept that is built upon Walter Ong’s theory – the secondary orality. The author argues that the rhetoric of online urban legends...
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