USE OF UNCERTAINTY REDUCTION THEORY TO EXAMINE EMOTICONS AND OTHER CHAT ROOM TOOLS’ FACILITATION OF AFFILIATIVE NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION
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Physical cues of affiliative, nonverbal communication are unavailable in Internet chat situations. People utilize text formatting and constructs called smileys or emoticons to adapt affiliative, physical cues for expression during chat rooms. The effectiveness of such textual constructs has been questioned. Past studies have only noted that the media of face-to-face and computer-mediated communication are, in fact, different. It is time to determine what people are doing to bridge the gap between the two, how they are utilizing what is available in a chat room to replicate the cues from face-to-face interaction and how effectively such replication is achieved.