Engaging in Email Discussion: Conversational Context and Social Identity in Computer-Mediated Communication

L A Watts, Y Nugroho, M Lea

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

For millions of people, text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC) is a convenient and engaging way to exchange information and opinion. Research shows that the social ambiguity of text-based CMC, such as email, can both promote participation and group cohesion and lead to misunderstanding, offence and social division. We report a field experiment that attempted to expose some underlying factors. GNU Mailman was configured to promote either individual or group perspectives during email discussions. It was used for political debate by two groups of Indonesian NGO members during the Indonesian constitutional crisis of 2001. We assessed changes in their perceptions of their groups and their political attitudes. Our findings suggest that CMC for socially loaded topics relies upon two complementary factors: the ability of the medium to underwrite participants' Social Identity and its support for expression of the group's conversational aims.
Original languageEnglish
Pages559--566
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003
EventProceedings of IFIP INTERACT'03 - Zurich, Switzerland
Duration: 1 Sep 2003 → …

Conference

ConferenceProceedings of IFIP INTERACT'03
CountrySwitzerland
CityZurich
Period1/09/03 → …

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    Watts, L. A., Nugroho, Y., & Lea, M. (2003). Engaging in Email Discussion: Conversational Context and Social Identity in Computer-Mediated Communication. 559--566. Paper presented at Proceedings of IFIP INTERACT'03, Zurich, Switzerland.