Instant Messaging as a Hypermedium in the Making

Instant Messaging as a Hypermedium in the Making

Kalev Leetaru (University of Illinois, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-863-5.ch062
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Abstract

The recent rise of Instant Messaging systems as a centerpiece of online communication has brought with it many questions about the role this new medium will play in the communicative sphere. As the medium has evolved, it has grown to subsume many traditional communication technologies, merging their individual capabilities. In this chapter, a cross-section of popular and established technologies is examined and a strata of affordances introduced, describing the media’s capacity for tasks enabled through their message transport. Through this framework the modern medium of Instant Messaging is compared against these other technologies in terms of the affordances offered by each and the argument presented that IM is evolving to subsume many of the traditional communicative mediums into a single communications hub, or hypermedium.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobility: The severing of physical ties between communicative and physical addresses; the user’s ability to maintain multiple identities and switch between them at will.

Instant Messaging: A communications medium born of text-only roots that has slowly become a hypermedium.

Mobility: The severing of physical ties between communicative and physical addresses; the user’s ability to maintain multiple identities and switch between them at will.

Persistence: The length of time, once sent, that a message remains available.

Identity: How an individual represents him or herself as a communicator.

Identity: How an individual represents him or herself as a communicator.

Persistence: The length of time, once sent, that a message remains available.

Multitransport: The concept of encoding a message in one medium and transporting it over another.

Hypermedium: A medium that has evolved to incorporate the capabilities of competing media.

Hypermedium: A medium that has evolved to incorporate the capabilities of competing media.

Affordances: Describe a medium’s capacity for tasks enabled through its message transport.

Multitransport: The concept of encoding a message in one medium and transporting it over another.

Instant Messaging: A communications medium born of text-only roots that has slowly become a hypermedium.

Affordances: Describe a medium’s capacity for tasks enabled through its message transport.

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