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Virtual Interaction and I-O Psychology: PIOP.NET

Sara M. Russell 

On May 21, 2001, a new Internet resource for I-O psychology was launched. PIOP.NET, the Professional Industrial-Organizational Psychologist NETwork was designed for students, academics, practitioners, and businesses. PIOP.NET is an independent and noncommercial Web site intended to be both a portal to online information and a community of virtual interaction.

Current resources available on the Internet for I-O psychology are limited; most are static sites providing information without the ability to interact. As an example, the SIOP Web site provides a wealth of valuable information including the contents of TIP, but it is not designed to facilitate open discussion on available content or discussion independently generated. Using skills of Web-site design and knowledge of networking and virtual communities, I designed PIOP.NET to address this need for a community where members can easily interact based on both available content or independently-generated content.

Members are the primary contributors of content; as such, they are responsible for the links, news, announcements, articles, and reviews that are available. Member-contributed content examples on PIOP.NET include vitae/resumes, calls for papers, conference announcements, job listings, and a special issue journal description plus abstracts. The possibility for content on PIOP.NET is limited only by member contributions.

Members can also add their personal comments, opinions, and suggestions on practically everything available online, which could be considered a form of peer review. For example, a poll titled The Best I-O Graduate Program is initiated member interaction regarding the legitimacy of such a poll and the controversy surrounding school rankings overall. Basically, all available content on PIOP.NET is derived completely from member interaction and contributions.

An integrated forum area, which has the ability for an unlimited number of forums, topics, and discussions within it, enables interaction independently from site content. Active forums topics include job opportunities in the United States, return on investment, and application to graduate programs, just to name a few. This completes the description of the design concept for PIOP.NET (a virtual interaction-enabled community).

Another unique aspect of PIOP.NET is its combined utility for scholarly, professional, and social interactions. PIOP.NET has the ability to be much more than just a scientific learning community; it could also be a place to chat and socialize with others in or interested in I-O psychology. PIOP.NET gives students, academics, and practitioners the opportunity to post questions, offer advice, and, in general, interact with one another for the advancement of all involved.

The results of PIOP.NET to date have been significant. Personal recommendations and announcements via available listservs have been the only source of promotion. As of November, PIOP.NET had a membership of 280-plus from around the world. A graphical representation of current members and submissions is available online at www.piop.net/article.php?sid=37. An online poll indicated that visitors/members to PIOP.NET consist of undergraduate students (9.92%), graduate students (42.15 %), academics (18.18%), practitioners (20.66 %), others (9.09%).

I hope to see you all online interacting, and contributing soon. PIOP.NET Web site: www.piop.net/; e-mail: piop@piop.net   


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