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Showing ‘digital’ objects in web-based video chats as a collaborative achievement

Laura Rosenbaun, Christian Licoppe
Published: 6 July 2022

Abstract: Showing material objects by bringing them to the camera or turning the camera toward them are pervasive practices in domestic and recreational video-mediated communication (VMC). We here discuss a set of specific showing practices characteristic of digitally embedded video-mediated settings, which may be called ‘digital showings’. These involve participants’ collaboration to retrieve a digital object so as to ensure a shared perceptual experience on screen of said object. We draw on data from multiparty Google Hangouts On Air (HOAs) to show that while digital and material showings share an overall sequential organization, the former display the emergence of unique collaborative practices that at times become collective performances of computer literacy. We focus on three instances of digital showings: (a) screenshares of pictures – showing an image by sharing one’s screen; (b) screenshares of videos – showing a running video by sharing one’s screen; and (c) link-share showings – showing by sharing the link to a showable content that may be independently retrieved while experienced jointly.
Keywords: digital showings / showings share / screenshares / camera / sharing / video mediated / link share

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