Making Sense Digitally

Conversational Coherence in Online Mixed-Mode Contexts
Umea Studies in Language & Literature No. 7


By Therese Ornberg Berglund
December 2009
Umea University
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
ISBN: 9789172648524
270 pages, Illustrated
$57.50 Paper original

Through four case studies, Making Sense Digitally investigates the characteristics of technology-rich communication situations and the interaction taking place there. The case studies presented here deal with intertwined threads in instant messaging conversations, multimodal feedback in desktop video conferencing, attention and mode switching during conversational multitasking, and conversation initiation in a technology-rich shared physical enviornment.

Building on an interactional and ecological theoetical basis, this study indetifies strategies employed to establish and maintain coherence in the above situations and, more generally, discusses the relationship between context and interactional patterns. The results show that successful strategies for dealing with potential obstacles to coherence mose ofter involve explicit communicative cues. Furthermore, it is suggested how these findings can be applied when designing technological toold for communication.


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