Accessible Requires Authentication Published by Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag January 14, 2020

OMG I’m Laughing so Hard – Alienation in Digital Communication and Potential Countermeasures

Cedric Quintes and Daniel Ullrich
From the journal i-com


Nowadays communication is largely dominated by digital text-based channels which naturally only transfer a small part of the information that is present in face-to-face conversations. In particular, information about the communication partner’s emotional state, which is naturally expressed through facial expressions, body language and other non-verbal indicators, can hardly be transferred. Approaches such as emojis address this issue by allowing the sender to show how he (for reasons of readability, the pronoun “he” addresses all genders equally) feels by selecting an appropriate (smiley) face. However, the crucial difference is that this smiley must be deliberately chosen and does not necessarily represent an authentic expression of the sender’s emotional state. The present paper discusses typical challenges and misunderstandings of communication in the digital era by the example of chat communication. It reflects its ramifications on the perceived authenticity of the transferred emotions and discusses possible (technology-based) approaches towards a more direct, authentic way of communication.

Funding source: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

Award Identifier / Grant number: FKZ: 16SV8097

Funding statement: This research has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), project GINA (FKZ: 16SV8097).


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Published Online: 2020-01-14
Published in Print: 2019-11-18

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston