Making Sense Digitally
: Conversational Coherence in Online and Mixed-Mode Contexts
Umeå Studies in Language and Literature, no. 7
Through four case studies, Making Sense Digitally investigates the characteristics of technology-rich communication situations and the interaction taking place there. The case studies presented here deal with inteltwined threads in instant messaging conversations,multi modal feedback in desktop video conferencing, attention and mode switching during conversational multitasking, and conversation initiation in a technology-rich shared physical environment. Building on an interactional and ecological theoretical basis, this study identifies strategies employed to establish and maintain coherence in the above situations and, more generally, discusses the relationship between conte"t and interactional patterns. The results show that successful strategies for dealing with potential obstacles to coherence most often involve explicit communicative cues. Furthermore, it is suggested how these findings can be applied when designing teclmological tools for communication.