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A chatroom ethnography: Evolution of community, norms, nonverbal communication
Unformatted Document Text:  A Chatroom Ethnography 19 Not surprisingly, the participants in this conversation were those who had identified themselves as men, but at some level, all body types seemed to be “defended.” Then the conversation, as always returned to baseball. The observation that showed evidence of the greatest level of prior interpersonal relationships talked about prior interactions both on and offline with other community members was the final one. There was still evidence of the age/gender type of introduction as there were several failed introductions like, “hi hot 21/m/ut/pics IM me ladies (repeated several times).” However, introductions were made in this room in a different manner. Because there seemed to be much interconnectivity, people that participants knew were welcomed back into the room with the , “((((((((Ernie))))))))” which denotes a hug and hello to that particular person. This was evident in the previous observation, but not as a welcoming of individuals into the room as much as a sign of affection once people were talking or taking their leaves. In this observation, this was a common practice of welcoming or having others introduce participants to the room. This also seemed to be the most regulated conversation of all. There appeared to be clear norms and implicit rules for how participants would interact in this room, which can be accounted for by evidence of numerous prior relationships and complexity of those relationships in this observation. One of the elements of familiarity demonstrated in this room was a reporting back by one participant about a “racist” conversation in another room (see Appendix A). The notable feature of this conversation is that this participant felt comfortable enough and safe enough in knowing how others would react that he could share the story of the other chat room and expect the same sensemaking to be made among the people with whom he interacted. This conversation also demonstrates that a relatively large number of people participated in the conversations that took place.

Authors: Diers, Audra.
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A Chatroom Ethnography
19
Not surprisingly, the participants in this conversation were those who had identified themselves
as men, but at some level, all body types seemed to be “defended.” Then the conversation, as
always returned to baseball.
The observation that showed evidence of the greatest level of prior interpersonal
relationships talked about prior interactions both on and offline with other community members
was the final one. There was still evidence of the age/gender type of introduction as there were
several failed introductions like, “hi hot 21/m/ut/pics IM me ladies (repeated several times).”
However, introductions were made in this room in a different manner. Because there seemed to
be much interconnectivity, people that participants knew were welcomed back into the room
with the , “((((((((Ernie))))))))” which denotes a hug and hello to that particular person. This was
evident in the previous observation, but not as a welcoming of individuals into the room as much
as a sign of affection once people were talking or taking their leaves. In this observation, this was
a common practice of welcoming or having others introduce participants to the room.
This also seemed to be the most regulated conversation of all. There appeared to be clear
norms and implicit rules for how participants would interact in this room, which can be
accounted for by evidence of numerous prior relationships and complexity of those relationships
in this observation. One of the elements of familiarity demonstrated in this room was a reporting
back by one participant about a “racist” conversation in another room (see Appendix A). The
notable feature of this conversation is that this participant felt comfortable enough and safe
enough in knowing how others would react that he could share the story of the other chat room
and expect the same sensemaking to be made among the people with whom he interacted. This
conversation also demonstrates that a relatively large number of people participated in the
conversations that took place.


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