Chat players very often initiate a chat with a question like: "hi, a/s/l please?
", which asks the other party to self-identify in those terms, as, for instance "frits/m/amsterdam", if that fits the character the player wants to project.
In so doing, they will make the new technology 'at home in the world that has whatever organisation it already has.' Space does not allow a full discussion of the properties of text-based CMC as instantiated in 'chat' environments, but comparing CMC with face-to-face communication and telephone conversations, it is obvious that the means to convey meanings are severely restricted.
In my own text, however, I will use 'player' and 'character' to indicate the two faces of participation in computer-mediated, text-based chats.
In the following sections, I will discuss the organised ways in which one particular problem that chat-players have is dealt with.
But with video-based research, as initiated by Charles Goodwin in the 1970s, one was later able to demonstrate that visual exchanges did play an essential role the actual organisation of face-to-face conduct.
When using telephone technology, people seemed to rely on a restricted set of the interactional procedures used in face-to-face settings.
In general chat environments, as the one I will discuss later, such a game-like quality seems not to be openly admitted, although quite often hinted at.
Rather, the participants stick to playing who they claim they are.We may expect that we will encounter many phenomena that have become familiar to us, and that we will be able to use many of the same concepts.But we will probably also see that people have developed new technical variations of familiar themes as they adapt the technology of conversation to the possibilities and limitations of this new technology of communicative mediation.Labelling a person as being male or female carries with it an enormous amount of implied properties, so called 'category-predicates', such as expectable or required behaviours, capacities, values, etc.My overall thesis is that people who want to chat rely mostly on categorical predications to find suitable chat partners.In various other formats for CMC, like MUDs and MOOs, the looseness of the connections between the people who type messages and the identities they project in the chat environment seems often to be accepted as an inescapable fact, which adds to the fascination of participation.