Online interaction across three contexts: an analysis of culture and technological affordances

Todd L. Sandel, Richard Buttny, Mary Varghese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Students were linked virtually across three contexts: U.S., Malaysia, and China. Differences emerged in how student-created messages were constructed and interpreted; these impacted perceived relational affiliation. Messages constructed by students in Malaysia and China exhibited casual talk, greater self-disclosure, requests for personal information, and greater use of emoticons/emoji. Interactions were perceived as informal, friendly, and positive. U.S. students’ messages often showed institutional talk, less self-disclosure, and more attention to the instructor-assigned task. Asian-U.S. student pairs perceived their interactions as formal, less friendly, and less positive. This study shows how online technologies may be afforded and shaped by culture and interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-71
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Intercultural Communication Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019


  • Asian and American students
  • Interaction
  • online communication
  • relational affiliation
  • self-disclosure
  • technological affordances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication


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