Everyday life on the Internet: A conceptual framework for exploring interpersonal communications and emotions
Computing, Multimedia and Telecommunication Open University of Catalonia Barcelona, Spain
There is a growing interest in and knowledge about how the Internet operates within our everyday life. However, there are few studies that explore in depth interpersonal interaction processes on the Internet, and none of them take into account the role of emotions in this communication process.
This paper sets focus on the role of emotions and aims at deconstructing the dichotomies of "real" and "virtual" communication. I will present a theoretical and methodological framework for a more complex study of social interactions on the Internet. This includes amongst others a critical discussion of Goffman´s "interaction order theory" and further investigation in ethnographic methodology when applied to the study of social interactions on the Internet.
The computer-mediated communication (CMC) will serve for an in-depth analysis of social conduct in everyday life on the Internet. I argue that everyday life takes place on the Internet, and there is no difference between online and offline interpersonal communications in terms of their "reality". The Internet has penetrated into all aspects of life, disappearing into the background as an invisible infrastructure and a taken-for-granted aspect of life. An analysis of interpersonal communications on the Internet should then be done beyond real and virtual dichotomies. This position takes me away from a study that investigates what things can or cannot be done online. My interest is on how we integrate the CMC online into everyday life and how emotions intervene in the social interaction on the Internet.