Mobile Phone Communication: Extending Goffman to Mediated Interaction
Mediated interaction has become a feature of everyday life, used routinely to communicate and maintain contacts, yet sociological analysis of mediated communication is relatively undeveloped. This article argues that new mediated communication channels merit detailed sociological analysis, and that interactional differences between media have been overlooked. Goffman explicitly restricted his interaction order to face-to-face interaction.The article adapts some of Goffman's interactional concepts for synchronous mediated interaction, but argues that his situational focus is less relevant to asynchronous media. The theoretical approach developed is illustrated and supported by qualitative research on mobile phones, which fortuitously afford both synchronous and asynchronous communication.The study suggests that although the distinction between synchronous and asynchronous interaction is important, it is not technologically determined, but shaped by interactional norms.