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A chatroom ethnography: Evolution of community, norms, nonverbal communication
Unformatted Document Text:  A Chatroom Ethnography 26 In taking an ethnographic turn in the study of computer-mediated communication, this research has applied auto-and traditional ethnographic methods into a relatively new setting for ethnography—the chatroom community. Even the exploration of virtual communities is a relatively young application of our knowledge of community processes. These virtual communities should be of particular interest to communication ethnographers as the interactions that take place in public settings, like the City AOL chatroom, are expressly communicative in nature. For example, micro-examinations of word and phrase uses might tell us volumes about the emergent possibilities in the virtual world of interpersonal relationships. At a larger level, investigations of conflicts, greetings, and narratives of offline relationships that begun as online interactions are just a few examples of the possibilities for close examinations of particular virtual communities that could take place. A thought in closing that relates the intrigue that studies—of any kind—of CMC may provide; as a technology continues to revolutionize our daily lives, as we move further away from our immediate and extended families, and as we commute virtually to work more, is it any wonder that CMC has become a way for people to establish interpersonal relationships (Park & Floyd, 1996)?

Authors: Diers, Audra.
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A Chatroom Ethnography
26
In taking an ethnographic turn in the study of computer-mediated communication, this research
has applied auto-and traditional ethnographic methods into a relatively new setting for
ethnography—the chatroom community. Even the exploration of virtual communities is a
relatively young application of our knowledge of community processes. These virtual
communities should be of particular interest to communication ethnographers as the interactions
that take place in public settings, like the City AOL chatroom, are expressly communicative in
nature. For example, micro-examinations of word and phrase uses might tell us volumes about
the emergent possibilities in the virtual world of interpersonal relationships. At a larger level,
investigations of conflicts, greetings, and narratives of offline relationships that begun as online
interactions are just a few examples of the possibilities for close examinations of particular
virtual communities that could take place. A thought in closing that relates the intrigue that
studies—of any kind—of CMC may provide; as a technology continues to revolutionize our
daily lives, as we move further away from our immediate and extended families, and as we
commute virtually to work more, is it any wonder that CMC has become a way for people to
establish interpersonal relationships (Park & Floyd, 1996)?


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