CfP: Persistent Conversation

The Persistent Conversation minitrack at HICSS is back. We invite you
to submit your work to the upcoming 50th anniversary HICSS. The CFP is
here: [1]!persistent-conversation/c236g

A significant consequence of communication technologies is that
conversations are no longer ephemeral and volatile. Most conversations
mediated by technology leave a persistent record and become persistent
conversations. This persistence transforms the essence of conversation,
and it is the focus of extensive academic and applied research. The
persistent conversation minitrack is the home of this research at

Persistent conversations are being created using text, audio, images,
and video, and they are a part of every aspect of life: From the
Cluetrain Manifesto’s “markets are conversations”, through Robin
Dunbar’s conversations as devices for social grooming, conversations
are at the heart of every human activity. Accordingly, the minitrack is
open to research on persistent conversation from a variety of
disciplinary perspectives including Communication, Management,
Education, Computer Science, Sociology, Political Science, Psychology,
Linguistics, Law, and the like.

As noted by Tom Erickson and Susan Herring, who established the
Persistent Conversation minitrack at HICSS in 1999, the persistent
trace frees conversations from the lock-step synchrony of face-to-face
talk. It allows to dramatically scale the number of participants within
a single discussion and to distribute an interaction over geographies,
time zones, and cultures. Human and machine access to those digital
traces enables a wide set of prisms and analyses, leading to novel
insights into the numerous forms of human activity.

At the same time, the persistence of human communication imposes a new
set of challenges. For example, what mechanisms perform the role of the
ephemeral social cues of face-to-face conversation? What are the
ethical consequences of the creation of potentially permanent records
in terms of privacy, accountability, and the right to be forgotten? In
addition, claims have been made about the loss of intimacy, depth, and
quality of human communication when it is carried out digitally,
especially in the case of massive open communication.

The aim of this minitrack is to bring together researchers and
innovators to explore digitally persistent conversation and its
implications for learning, commercial transactions, entertainment,
news, politics, and other forms of human interaction; to raise new
socio-technical, ethical, pedagogical, linguistic and social questions;
and to suggest new methods, perspectives, and design approaches.
Examples of appropriate topics include, but are not limited to:

– Innovation in digital conversational practice: turn-taking,
threading, and other structural features of CMC
– The dynamics and analysis of large scale conversation systems (e.g.,
MOOCs and big data applications)
– Methods for analyzing persistent conversation
– Studies of virtual communities or other sites of digital conversation
– The role of persistent conversation in knowledge management
– The role of persistent conversation in organizational dynamics
– Domain specific applications, opportunities and challenges of
persistent conversations (e.g., in education, healthcare, social
movements, government, citizen participation)
– Conversation visualization, and visual cues
– The role of listeners, lurkers, and silent interactions
– Social presence and the persistence of an attributed user’s identity

The minitrack was launched in 1999 by Susan Herring and Tom Erickson,
and was led by them until 2010. For details of the rich history of this
minitrack and the accepted papers see Tom Erickson’s page at:
The submission deadline is June 15. For other important dates, see
If you have any questions, contact the minitrack co-chairs:
Sheizaf Rafaeli (Primary Contact)
University of Haifa
Yoram Kalman
The Open University of Israel
Carmel Kent
University of Haifa