’När jag vill tala till punkt väljer jag e-post’: Om bruket av kommunikationskanal i privat interaktion hos par som träffats online [“If I want to speak unopposed I choose email”: On the use of communication channels in private interaction between couples who meet online]

Amelie Hössjer


People's usage of different communication channels – various arenas of Inter-net, email dialogue, texting, telephone calls, contacts face to face etc. – is a recurring theme in computer mediated communication (CMC) research. However: the question of what governs the use and how different channels more specifically relate to each other remains fairly undefined. General tech-nology models are often used for explanation and on- and offline relationships are often treated as opposites in terms of superficial and deep relationships.

From an extensive set of interview data (30 interviews), based on (hetero-sexual) female and male informants who first met their partner on a dating site, the article examines the use of communication channels on- and offline. From a so-called thick description perspective and based on sociolinguistic theory the article investigates the usage of communication channels in couples, from an early stage of contact to a more established relationship.

The findings show that the interaction can be described as multilinguistic with a multichannel usage of various channels already in an early stage. Sev-eral channels (emails, telephone calls, texting, facebook chat etc.) are man-aged for continuous intimate dialogue and for purposes that develop within each couple. What is also clear is that several parallels can be made to what in sociolinguistic theory is described as situational and metaphoric code switching – switching in the choice of channels in relation to an external situation and to communicative intentions that individuals have.


Communication, interview, online, offline, thick description

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