First Things First: Internet Relay Chat Openings

Authors

  • E. Sean Rintel,

    Corresponding author
    1. Ph.D. candidate at the University at Albany, State University of New York. This article stems from his research MA completed at The University of Queensland in April 2000. His research interests include the management of social interaction in CMC systems, the links between CMC research and design, and the processes of interpersonal networking.
      Address: Communication Department, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, NY, USA, 12222. Telephone: +1-528-442-4871; Fax: +1-528-442-3884; Email: er8430@albany.edu.
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  • Joan Mulholland,

    Corresponding author
    1. Reader in the Department of English at The University of Queensland. She is the author of The Language of Negotiation and the Handbook of Persuasive Tactics. Her research interests include textual practices in print media and in fiction, language and society, women's writings, persuasive language, representations of talk, professional discourses, popular culture, media representations, and business discourse.
      Address: Department of English, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 4072. Telephone: +61-7-3365-2167; Fax: +61-7-3365-2799; Email: j.mulholland@mailbox.uq.edu.au.
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  • Jeffery Pittam

    Corresponding author
    1. Reader in Communication Studies in the Department of English at The University of Queensland. Author of Voice in Social Interaction, he has researched social identity and the voice, cross-cultural communication, social identity and language; language attitudes, stereotyping; media representations of ethnic groups and language and AIDS.
      Address: Department of English, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 4072. Telephone: +61-7-3365-1445; Fax: +61-7-3365-2799; Email: j.pittam@mailbox.uq.edu.au.
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Address: Communication Department, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, NY, USA, 12222. Telephone: +1-528-442-4871; Fax: +1-528-442-3884; Email: er8430@albany.edu.

Address: Department of English, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 4072. Telephone: +61-7-3365-2167; Fax: +61-7-3365-2799; Email: j.mulholland@mailbox.uq.edu.au.

Address: Department of English, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 4072. Telephone: +61-7-3365-1445; Fax: +61-7-3365-2799; Email: j.pittam@mailbox.uq.edu.au.

Abstract

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was the Internet's first widely popular quasi-synchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC) system. While research has consistently demonstrated the interpersonal nature of IRC, and is now turning to more structurally-oriented topics, it is argued that IRC research now needs to systematically address links between interaction structures, technological mediation and the instantiation and development of interpersonal relationships within a framework that privileges IRC interaction and social explanations. This exploration of the openings of IRC interactions is positioned as a step in that direction. The openings investigated in the study are those that occur directly following user's entries into public IRC channels, termed the newly-joined users' Channel Entry Phase (CEP). It is found that turn coordination in the CEP is often ambiguous, has the potential to disrupt relationship development, and leads to considerable emphasis on interactive strategies for the clear ordering of opening phases.

Ancillary