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This chapter attempts to achieve three moderate goals. First, it summarizes some general, conceptual arguments on two relevant aspects of networked multimedia systems: ways of comparing characteristics of various media, and the interplay between pre-existing organizational networks and new networked media networks. Second, it summarizes some results from a short study of the Cruiser networked, desktop video system that speak to these issues. Third, it summarizes the implications of some of these results, as well as some related results, for implementation and management of such new systems. Much of the material is extracted from recently published articles (which is indicated when appropriate), while some of the results have not been published before. The final implication of this paper is that social science research, while sometimes apparently abstract and complex, has much to offer for designers, vendors, and implementors of multimedia systems.

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