The use of webcam, especially through Skype, has recently become established as one more standard media technology, but so far there has been no attempt to assess its fundamental nature and consequences. Yet webcam has profound implications for many facets of human life, from self-consciousness and intimacy to the sustaining of long-distance relationships and the place of the visual within social communications.
Based on research in London and Trinidad, this book shows how 'always-on' webcam is becoming an entirely different phenomenon from the initial use of webcam as a videophone. Webcam is examined within the framework of 'polymedia' - that is, the new environments created by the simultaneous presence of a multiplicity of communication technologies - and used to exemplify a theory of attainment that accepts media technologies as aspects of, rather than detracting from, our basic humanity.
Keywords: Media Studies, Webcam, new media, anthropology, relationships, masculinity, polymedia