chapter  6
20 Pages

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BySimon Gottschalk

This chapter discusses the fourth default setting—connectivity, which refers to how users can interact with each other at the terminal. Combining Goffman’s concept of ‘face-work’ with Honneth’s concept of social recognition, the chapter takes e-mail as an exemplar to examine the adjustments imposed on users by four unique features of terminal connectivity: reduced cues, polychronicity, reach, and de-contextualization/alterability. Those adjustments confuse users’ transmissions, damage the quality of their interactions, degrade the solidity of their social bonds, disrupt the functioning of their groups, and hinder their abilities to notice and repair situations that threaten the online ‘expressive order.’ Users’ adjustments to this mode of connectivity are not restricted to their interactions at the terminal but contaminate face-to-face encounters as well, undermining the possibility to develop empathy. The chapter concludes by reviewing similar trends in hypermodern culture.