From Text to Gesture Online: A microethnographic analysis of nonverbal communication in the Second Life virtual environment

Smiljana Antonijević

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A transition from text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC) to online interaction that includes both textual and nonverbal discourse represents a new development in online communication and a significant challenge to prevailing models for the analysis of CMC. This paper presents results of a six-month-long ethnographic research of nonverbal communication (NVC) in the Second Life (SL) virtual environment. A set of 108 SL locations selected in a non-structured manner provided a wide range of communicative contexts for the analysis of natu- rally occurring user interaction. The study was focused on the analysis of proxe- mic and kinesic cues. The results have pointed to a significant difference between user-defined and predefined nonverbal cues, indicating that user-defined NVC has stronger potential to enhance online interaction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation, Communication & Society
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)221-238
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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