Radicals of presentation: Visibility, relation, and co-presence in persistent conversation

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43 Scopus citations


When members of an online, distributed learning community revealed that understanding local patterns of communication purpose and form was key to learning how to operate in this environment, we turned to writers on genre and persistent conversation for help in understanding the basis of this community. We derive from genre literature the idea that radicals, that is root characteristics, of presentation exist in computer-mediated environments and define important aspects of conversation via such media. We propose three radicals of presentation that revolve around speaker-audience relations and identify areas of concern for communicators engaging in persistent, online conversations: visibility, addressing primarily speakers' concerns with the means, methods and opportunites for self-presentation; relation, addressing the speaker's concerns with the range and identity of the audience, and audience members' concerns about relations with each other; and co-presence, addressing concerns relating to the temporal, virtual, and/or physical copresence of speaking and listening participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-140
Number of pages24
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Computers and writing
  • Distance education
  • Genre
  • Online community
  • Persistent conversation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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