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Awareness of Presence, Instant Messaging and WebWho

Journal article
Authors Peter Ljungstrand
Ylva Hård af Segerstad
Published in ACM SlGGROUP Bulletin
Volume 21
Issue 3
Pages 21-27
Publication year 2000
Published at Department of Linguistics
Department of Informatics
Pages 21-27
Language en
Subject categories Communication Studies, Linguistics


We report from a study of how awareness of presence can affect instant messaging behavior. WebWho is a web based awareness system that visualizes where people are located in a large university computer lab. It allows students to virtually locate one another and, among other functions, to communicate via an instant messaging system. Typically, instant messages are signed with the sender's name, but messages can also be sent anonymously. The students use the messaging system to support collaborative work and coordinate social activities, as well as for playfid behavior. We have performed analyses of messages logs with respect to sender location, anonymous or not, and message content. Results show that awareness of both physical presence, i.e. when both when sender and recipient share the same room, and virtual presence, mediated via WebWho, affect the message contents.

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