Affiliated Organization

Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop


In face-to-face contexts, information about the activities, context, emotions, etc. of others is typically available and often taken for granted. In mediated settings, thisawareness information must be actively signaled by technology or users. In this conceptual paper, we offer a theory of the dynamic creation of awareness in mediated settings using a metaphor of pools fed by streams of communication. Pools of awareness are held within users and gradually fill via signals from others. Users desire different pools to be filled before others and direct thestreams of interaction to feed those pools first. Furthermore, the desired pools are context and media dependent, but presence, identity, and activity appear to befundamental to mediated communication: fed early and taken for granted later. Finally, pools drain if not actively replenished, and fundamental pools must be refilled when a new encounter begins. We formulate theoretical propositionsaccording to our line of reasoning and discuss implications of our proposed theory for mediated communication researchers and practitioners.