A third form of electronic conferencing is computer conferencing. There is a fine line between this system and E-mail. Both use the same software and hardware. Two factors determine the application- Who uses the system, and the subject matter.
E-mail is available to anyone who has access to the network-and that includes practically everyone in the office. Also, the E-mail system can be used for any purpose. Computer conferencing, on the other hand, is the use of a networked computer that allows particular topic. Computer conferencing is more disciplined form of E-mail.
Unlike an audio conference, a computer conference group can consist of large number of participants. One of the largest computer conferences was formed within IBM to include anyone who had an interest in the IBM PC. Its members exceeded 40,000, and there were over 4,000 separate topic areas.
Computer conferencing differs from audio or video conferencing because it can be used within a single geographic site. A person can use computer conferencing to communicate with someone in the office next door. Such use would not be practical with audio or video.