Email and Internet Uses and Temporalities

Special Report: Lands and Communications
By Benoît Lelong

This paper adresses the role of mediated interpersonal relations in the structuration of internet uses. It is based on a longitudinal study of new users: two series of thirty interviews had been conducted (firstly four months and secondly one year after the installation of internet access). The evolution of practices is analyzed from the first adjustements to the stabilization (or in some cases the abandonment) of internet use. According to this perspective, internet appears as a combination of sociotechnical tools (web, email, forums) that differ in terms of their effects on the appropriation and use of internet. Electronic mail especially plays a key role for the regulation of uses, the acquisition of skills and the coordination with other internet users.

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