Showing ‘digital’ objects in web-based video chats as a collaborative achievement
Laura Rosenbaun and Christian Licoppe
University of Haifa, Israel | Telecom ParisTech, France
Showing material objects by bringing them to the camera or turning the camera toward them are pervasive practices in domestic and recreational video-mediated communication (VMC). We here discuss a set of specific showing practices characteristic of digitally embedded video-mediated settings, which may be called ‘digital showings’. These involve participants’ collaboration to retrieve a digital object so as to ensure a shared perceptual experience on screen of said object. We draw on data from multiparty Google Hangouts On Air (HOAs) to show that while digital and material showings share an overall sequential organization, the former display the emergence of unique collaborative practices that at times become collective performances of computer literacy. We focus on three instances of digital showings: (a) screenshares of pictures – showing an image by sharing one’s screen; (b) screenshares of videos – showing a running video by sharing one’s screen; and (c) link-share showings – showing by sharing the link to a showable content that may be independently retrieved while experienced jointly.
Showing sequences in which co-participants make accessible to others a given behavior, person, or detail in their environment, are a common practice in domestic and recreational video-mediated communication (VMC). We use the notion of ‘showing’ as an umbrella term to gloss a set of practices through which some particular feature of the environment that is initially unequally available in perceptual terms to all co-participants, is made into a relevant ‘showable’ and manipulated so as to be reshaped into a joint focus of attention. Leveling the visual field and redressing the inequality in perceptual access is a core feature of ‘showings’. It is this manipulative work or ‘placing’ objects in a common perceptual field (Clark 2003) and the access imbalance it indexes what differentiates ‘showing’ from ‘pointing’. In the latter, the relevant feature (the ‘pointable’) is often presumed to be available in the environment (Kita 2003). However, as interactional achievements, pointing and showing practices display a resemblance: (a) both are embodied, multimodal practices in which material features in the environment are turned into interactional resources; (b) even in pointing, some orientation work is often needed to ensure the pointed feature becomes a joint focus of attention; and (c) the embodied work involved in pointing (Goodwin 2003; Heath & Von Lehn 2004), as well as that involved in showing (Licoppe & Morel, 2014), are co-emergent and mutually elaborated along the concurrent talk-in-interaction.
I. Arminen, and
2014 “Photo Sharing as a Joint Activity Between an Aphasic Speaker and Others.” In Interacting with Objects: Language, Materiality, and Social Activity, ed. by
T. Heinemann, and
M. Rauniomaa, 125–144. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 125–144.
C. Neustaedter, and
2013 “How and why Teenagers Use Video Chat.” Proceedings of the 2013 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 759–768.
2003 “Pointing and Placing.” In Pointing. Where Language, Culture and Cognition Meet, ed. by
S. Kita, 243–268. Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.
Chovanec, J., and
2010 “Online Discussion and Interaction: The Case of Live Text Commentary.” In Cases in Online Discussion and Interaction, ed. by
Leonard Shedletsky, and
Joan E. Aitken, 234–251. Hershey: IGI Publishing. https://doi.org/10.4018/978‑1‑61520‑863‑0.ch012
1991 “Disembodied Conduct: Communication through Video in a Multi-Media Office Environment.” Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 99–103.
Heath, C., and
1992 “Collaboration and Control: Crisis Management and Multimedia Technology in London Underground Line Control Rooms.” Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) 1 (1–2): 69–94. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00752451
1984 “A Change-of-State Token and Aspects of its Sequential Placement. Structures of Social Action.” In Structures of Social Action, ed. by
J. M. Atkinson, and
J. Heritage, 299–345. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2003Pointing. Where Language, Culture and Cognition Meet. Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.
1984 “Agreeing and Disagreeing with Assessments: Some Features of Preferred/Dispreferred Turn Shapes.” In Structures of Social Action, ed. by
J. M. Atkinson, and
J. Heritage, 57–101. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2003 “Grammar and Social Organization: Yes/No Interrogatives and the Structure of Responding.” American Sociological Review 939–967. https://doi.org/10.2307/1519752
2013 “Tech-Tied or Tongue-Tied? Technological versus Social Trouble in Relational Video Calling.” 2013 46th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), 3343–3352. https://doi.org/10.1109/HICSS.2013.512
J. Raclaw, and
S. M. DiDomenico
2016 “Mobile Phones as an Interactional Resource in Assessment Activities.” (forthcoming).
1992Lectures on conversation, ed. by
G. Jefferson. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
1997 “Some General Reflections on ‘Categorization’ and ‘Sequence’ in the Analysis of Conversation.” In Culture in Action. Studies in Membership Categorization Analysis, ed. by
S. Hester, and
P. Eglin, 49–75. Washington: International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis & University Press of America.
Weilenmann, A., and
2001 “Local Use and Sharing of Mobile Phones.” In Wireless World: Social and Interactional Aspects of the Mobile Age, ed. by
N. Green, and
R. Harper, 92–107. London: Springer-Verlag.