Meaning-making in a non-spatial world and the
semiotics of commemorating an intangible past

              As part of modern-day culture, the world wide web is unnatural, an extension of a man’s social construction of his world. Such is an entirely new dimension of reality that is both a material and non-material construct. The material construct makes possible the non-spatial, online reality of the web which, just like man’s social reality, is legitimized through his meaning-making. We are said to be in the meaning-making era of mass communication where “you create your own meaning “ (Baran & Davis, 2010).
             Communication research “focuses on the ways in which messages link participants during interactions” (Kibler & Barker, 1969). Central to these interactions is meaning that “arises and lies within the field of the relation between the gesture of a given human organism and the subsequent behavior of this organism as indicated to another human organism by that gesture” (Mead, 1934).
             Mead further posited that meanings are embedded in language which legitimizes the objectification and social construction of reality. Saussure, Swiss linguist and semiotician, on the other hand, saw language as a system or structure of arbitrary signs comprised of signifiers which most often have no direct resemblance to their signified (Griffin, 2013). Their meanings, too, may not be straightforward as a text may contain its own contradictions. Derrida, Algerian-born French philosopher, held that words have meaning only in contrast or opposition to other words. They are never present but rather are deferred to other signs. Hence, there is a need to deconstruct text to uncover its true meaning.
             This maiden issue of the Communication and Journalism Review (CJR) examines mainly the meaning-making of online communication through a study of political internet memes and social media. Online reality being socially constructed is a product of man’s meaning-making. It also looks into the deconstruction of that meaning -making with the non-participation by some people on the internet. Aside from these, there are articles that investigate E-commerce as communication and the semiotics of heritage communication. It is a daunting challenge yet, our young writers have stood up to the task.
            Said to be digital natives (Prensky, 2001), these young communication researchers can best describe and explain the online world. They can be on the other side of the digital divide that separates them from their parents; teachers from their students, and public authority figures from the public and young adults. In this issue, we pay attention to what the young researchers have discovered as they analyze the social construction and sense-making of their world. This world that they live in is heavily influenced by the virtual and non-spatial, rather than the real and tangible.

Published: 2019-08-02