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A chatroom ethnography: Evolution of community, norms, nonverbal communication
Unformatted Document Text:  A Chatroom Ethnography 24 interpersonal relationships, increased nonverbal use appears to compensate for those communities with less complex relationships. Following the general trend, the nonverbal uses were greater in the final observation with the highest evidenced complexity and preponderance of prior interpersonal relationships was greater than the first two observations. This suggests that relative knowledge about the participants in this site chatrooms and perceived levels of connectivity would influence comfort in using very individualized kinds of expressions that might not be liked or understood by people that they did not know. Ultimately, the use of nonverbal cues seems to be a very interesting phenomenon in City AOL chatroom communication. These findings suggest a relationship between the complexity of prior interpersonal relationships and use of nonverbal cues. This is a relationship that should be developed more both in the theory behind purposes for nonverbal use as well as further exploration of the phenomenon online. Conclusions Previous research (e.g., Parks & Floyd, 1996) has established that people do; in fact, forge interpersonal relationships from people they meet in CMC interactions. Further, previous research has also established that CMC is a rich and negotiated process of interaction between people in a virtual community (e.g., Baym, 1995; Jones, 1997; Postmes, et al., 1998) where ethnography could be particularly useful to satisfy the need to provide detailed information about the processes in particular contexts (Baym, 1995; Lindlif & Shatzer, 1998; Paccagnella, 1997). However, our understanding about the use of nonverbal cues in CMC was essentially limited to wondering how the need for them could be overcome in a lean medium (e.g., Jacobson, 1999)

Authors: Diers, Audra.
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A Chatroom Ethnography
24
interpersonal relationships, increased nonverbal use appears to compensate for those
communities with less complex relationships.
Following the general trend, the nonverbal uses were greater in the final observation with
the highest evidenced complexity and preponderance of prior interpersonal relationships was
greater than the first two observations. This suggests that relative knowledge about the
participants in this site chatrooms and perceived levels of connectivity would influence comfort
in using very individualized kinds of expressions that might not be liked or understood by people
that they did not know.
Ultimately, the use of nonverbal cues seems to be a very interesting phenomenon in City
AOL chatroom communication. These findings suggest a relationship between the complexity of
prior interpersonal relationships and use of nonverbal cues. This is a relationship that should be
developed more both in the theory behind purposes for nonverbal use as well as further
exploration of the phenomenon online.
Conclusions
Previous research (e.g., Parks & Floyd, 1996) has established that people do; in fact,
forge interpersonal relationships from people they meet in CMC interactions. Further, previous
research has also established that CMC is a rich and negotiated process of interaction between
people in a virtual community (e.g., Baym, 1995; Jones, 1997; Postmes, et al., 1998) where
ethnography could be particularly useful to satisfy the need to provide detailed information about
the processes in particular contexts (Baym, 1995; Lindlif & Shatzer, 1998; Paccagnella, 1997).
However, our understanding about the use of nonverbal cues in CMC was essentially limited to
wondering how the need for them could be overcome in a lean medium (e.g., Jacobson, 1999)


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