In 2010, almost all laptop computers are sold with built-in cameras and microphones. Together with bundled software, such as Skype, everybody with access to a fast connection can easily engage in face-to-face communication over the internet. FaceTime, in conjunction with Apple's iPhone, provides a convenient and portable face-to-face application. Other solutions have been announced and will be released at a rapid pace. Thus, while text-only, computer-mediated communication (CMC) is likely to have its place for years to come, face-to-face mediated communication is here for real and it is here to stay. Concurrently, threats to global mobility, due to the environmental consequences of air travel, or challenges to air travel, such as the global disruptions caused by threats of terrorism and natural disasters, have led to increased calls to use alternative ways to achieve communication and collaborative work goals that so far had been mainly dealt with in physical, face-to-face interaction. At the same time, social networks meld many-to-many communication with one-to-one communication in different chat systems, with and without video. In other words, mediated face-to-face communication has become a commodity in business and private contexts. Thus, a volume dealing with different facets of internet-based, face-to-face communication is timely and we hope it will be of interest to readers who want to learn more about the topic. One goal of the present volume is also to stimulate further research on this topic.
It is possibly strange to think that, just a few years ago, mediated face-to-face communication seemed an exotic topic.