'It's More Like a Letter': An Exploration of Mediated Conversational Effort in Message Builder

Ryan Kelly, Daniel Gooch, Leon Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)


Communication technologies for maintaining close personal relationships are often designed to be lightweight and easy to use. While these properties allow for relationships to be maintained with speed and e ciency, they may come at the expense of more e ortful messages that are constructed with thought, time and care. This raises the question of how communication technologies might be designed to provoke moments of e ortful maintenance from their users. To explore this question, we designed and implemented Message Builder, a text-based communication system that encourages relational partners to send increasingly long messages. We report ndings from a eld trial in which 14 dyads used Message Builder for everyday relational maintenance. While some of the e ort-provoking features of Message Builder were described as problematic, we found that the system had value in guiding users towards authentic and meaningful e ort investments that were valuable within their individual relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Article number87
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
EventThe 21st ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing -
Duration: 1 Oct 2018 → …


  • Communication technologies
  • Effort
  • Social Media
  • Workload
  • relationship quality
  • Relationship management
  • Relationship context


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