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Ceci n’est pas un Objet? Talking about objects in email

 

Email, far from being a poor, technically limited substitute for face-to-face communication, has some unique and compelling properties that make it ideally suited for talking about things. In this paper we show how email users have evolved new forms of electronic deictic references to refer to work objects, and taken full advantage of the fluid boundaries between the different roles that email can assume. We also illustrate how email users draw on the persistence of the medium to make sense of the objects being talked about, and sometimes even transform the conversation itself into an object of conversation. Finally we show how email, these days more like an online habitat than an application, has become a powerful way in which to organize one's electronic work and work objects. We conclude with several design suggestions for future electronic mail software based on these findings.

 
 
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citation

Ducheneaut, N. ; Bellotti, V. Ceci n’est pas un Objet? Talking about objects in email. Human Computer Interaction. 2003; 18 (1-2): 85-110.