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“It’s More Like a Letter”: An Exploration of Mediated Conversational Effort in Message Builder

Kelly, Ryan; Gooch, Daniel and Watts, Leon (2018). “It’s More Like a Letter”: An Exploration of Mediated Conversational Effort in Message Builder. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 2(CSCW), article no. 87.

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Communication technologies for maintaining close personal relationships are often designed to be lightweight and easy to use. While these properties allow for relationships to be maintained with speed and efficiency, they may come at the expense of more effortful messages that are constructed with thought, time and care. This raises the question of how communication technologies might be designed to provoke moments of effortful maintenance from their users. To explore this question, we designed and implemented Message Builder, a text-based communication system that encourages relational partners to send increasingly long messages. We report findings from a field trial in which 14 dyads used Message Builder for everyday relational maintenance. While some of the effort-provoking features of Message Builder were described as problematic, we found that the system had value in guiding users towards authentic and meaningful effort investments that were valuable within their individual relationships.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 The Authors
ISSN: 2573-0142
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Investing care and appreciating effort in the use of personal communication technologiesPRG-2013-269Leverhulme Trust
Keywords: communication technologies; effort; relational technologies; social media
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Software Engineering and Design (SEAD)
Item ID: 56491
Depositing User: Daniel Gooch
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2018 08:34
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2019 13:24
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