Conversational Analysis of Chat Room Talk PHD thesis by Dr. Terrell Neuage University of South Australia National Library of Australia.
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There are two major ways text is presented in a chatroom. Firstly, in some one-on-one chatrooms such as Instant Messenger (IM) or ICQ there is the real-time writing where as the letters or emoticons are typed they appear on the screen of both the writer and the reader. One could, by using the delete key, re-write a letter, word or emoticon and the new expression would appear. This often happens if the writer misspells a word or misrepresents what they wanted to say and instead of pressing the enter button he or she corrects the utterance as it is being said.
The second way that text is presented, as is the case in almost all chatrooms, is that it does not appear until the enter key is pressed. Whatever one says lays dormant and does not exist in cyberspace until the utterance has been committed. Unlike person-to-person conversation when what is said is heard instantly, in a chat dialogue what is said is not heard until the speaker-writer wishes to reveal the content to the chatroom. Once the enter button is pressed there is no taking back what was said. If the chat can be saved, either by saving the screen shot of the chat or by copying and pasting or reading the chat logs the dialogue can be ‘captured’ for future reference.