University of Oulu

Kohonen-Aho, L., & Vatanen, A. (2021). (Re-)Opening an encounter in the virtual world of Second Life: On types of joint presence in avatar interaction. Journal für Medienlinguistik, 4(2), 14–51.

(Re-)Opening an encounter in the virtual world of Second Life : on types of joint presence in avatar interaction

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Author: Kohonen-Aho, Laura1; Vatanen, Anna1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, P.O. Box 1000, FI-90014 University of Oulu (Finland)
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-28


This study explores how ‘gatherings’ turn into ‘encounters’ in a virtu­al world (VW) context. Most communication technologies enable only focused encounters between distributed participants, but in VWs both gatherings and encounters can occur. We present close sequential analysis of moments when after a silent gathering, inter­action among participants in a VW is gradually resumed, and also investigate the social actions in the verbal (re-)opening turns. Our findings show that like in face-to-face situations, also in VWs partici­pants often use different types of embodied resources to achieve the transition, rather than rely on verbal means only. However, the tran­sition process in VWs has distinctive characteristics compared to the one in face-to-face situations. We discuss how participants in a VW use virtually embodied pre-beginnings to display what we call encounter-readiness, instead of displaying lack of presence by avatar stillness. The data comprise 40 episodes of video-recorded team in­teractions in a VW.

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Series: Journal für Medienlinguistik
ISSN: 2569-6491
ISSN-E: 2569-6491
ISSN-L: 2569-6491
Volume: 4
Issue: 2
Pages: 14 - 51
DOI: 10.21248/jfml.2021.30
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6121 Languages
Copyright information: © 2021 Laura Kohonen-Aho, Anna Vatanen. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.