The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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October 15, 2018

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Monday, October 15, 2018 - 2:30pm

Since the publication of Randall Collins's Interaction Ritual Chains, much interaction has moved from face-to-face to online settings.  IRC theory was based on the former, and Collins has expressed a combination of skepticism and ambivalence as to the theory’s applicability to online interaction.  This paper draws on Bakhtin’s theory of speech genres to adapt key concepts from IRC theory to the online world. Using more than 40,000 postings from two time-delimited intranet discussions at a global corporation, we find that IRC theory is effective in predicting which posts contribute to robust conversations by eliciting responses.  As in face-to-face interaction rituals, shared topical focus contributes to success, and interactions are characterized by temporal rhythms similar to, but longer than, those in face to face talk.  We conclude that under the right conditions, online interaction can produce emotional energy and that IRC theory is a valuable resource in understanding communication online.

Monday, October 15, 2018 - 2:30pm

Scott Blinder, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will present “Acceptable in the EU? Why Some Immigration Restrictionists Support EU Mobility.”

This talk is co-sponsored by the UMass Migration Working Group. Light refreshments will be provided.