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Title: Towards a theory of mediated interaction : a study of mobile phone communication
Author: Rettie, Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0000 6667 7744
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2006
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The last decade has seen a proliferation of interpersonal communication channels. These new forms of communication seem to shape interaction and create new ways of interacting. My research traces connections between the affordances of a communication channel and the social interaction that it facilitates, developing a typology of interactional channel characteristics. These characteristics shape communication in terms of meaning construction and interpretation, as well as content. Although users often take communication channels for granted, they are aware of their different interactional characteristics, and this is relevant to choice and usage. The study focuses on mobile phones, because they combine two communication channels in a single device, facilitating a comparison of the interactional characteristics of these channels. However, the research includes users' perceptions of their whole communication repertoires, and the findings are relevant to other communication channels. I argue that text messages are a new form of interaction with unique interactional characteristics, and that mobile phone communication has positive effects on the development and maintenance of relationships. The main contribution of my thesis is the development of a theoretical framework that facilitates analysis of the differences between mediated communication channels. The work has potential practical application, both in the design of new communication technologies and within organisations where recognition of the interactional characteristics of different channels could improve communication effectiveness. My work also contributes to the theory of communication, emphasising the two different paradigms that apply to traditional channels and showing how the specific characteristics of communication channels create a spectrum of different forms of interaction. In terms of social significance, the major findings of my work include the diversity of interaction afforded by different media, the discovery that for a number of people phone calls are problematic, and my identification of some of the mechanisms through which mobile phones affect relationships.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available