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I work in the Human Experience & Design (HXD) group on our ambition to Transform the Future of Work at Microsoft Research Cambridge (UK). I research how the affordances of communication technologies interact with language, social action, and culture.

Most of my publications cover technologized interaction across a range of contexts, such as video calling and video messaging in personal relationships, Skype as an accountable category, ambient audio technologies to support independent living, IRC openings and non-responses, social media in the workplace, crisis memes, error mascots, Internet culture, and cross-device interaction in video-mediated collaboration and slideware. I have also explored membership categorisation analysis and omnirelevance.

I am currently interested in video-mediated collaboration, enterprise social media platforms, cross-device interaction and device ecologies, engineering culture, tanglible data visualisation of cloud data, and research-product group alignment.

My approach is ethnomethodological, drawing on ethnographic data and analysing that data using qualitative methods such as conversation analysis and membership categorisation analysis.

I have been a member of three global first-place winning projects in Microsoft OneWeek Hackathons. You can read about the first of these in our Garage Wall of Fame post Mobile Sharing and Companion Experiences for Microsoft Teams Meetings. One day I might even be able to say what the other ones were! 😉

I received my Ph.D. in 2010 in the field of Sociology specialising in Communication, from the University at Albany, State University of New York. My dissertation was chaired by Professor Emerita Anita Pomerantz with committee members Professor Teresa Harrison, Professor Glenna Spitze, and Professor Ronald Jacobs.

I was the Senior Editor of the Communication Technology section of the online Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Communication. I have edited special issues of the Electronic Journal of Communication and the Australian Journal of Communication. I chaired the 2012 conference of the Australasian Institute of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis.

Prior to working at Microsoft I was a Lecturer in Strategic Communication at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. I was also a former Chair and Board Member of Electronic Frontiers Australia, a non-profit group advocating for digital access, freedom, and privacy.

Full Publication List

I’ve been publishing about communication technology since 1997. This page provides (mainly) links to publishers. Free access is marked [FREE]. Downloadable versions are also available from the following sites:

Microsoft Research (Selected papers; No login required)
Academia (login required)
ResearchGate (login required)

Key publications

Video-mediated communication: Rintel, S. (2013). Video Calling in Long-Distance Relationships: The Opportunistic use of Audio/Video Distortions as a Relational ResourceThe Electronic Journal of Communication / La Revue Electronic de Communication (EJC/REC) Special issue on Videoconferencing in Practice: 21st Century Challenges, 23 (1&2) [FREE] [Includes video]

See also: Harper, R., Rintel, S., Watson, W., O’Hara, K. (2017) The ‘Interrogative Gaze’: making video calling and messaging ‘accountable’. In Harper, R., Licoppe, C. & Watson, D., Journal of Pragmatics (Special Issue: Skype and domestic settings), 27 (3), 319–350, doi: 10.1075/prag.27.3.02har [FREE]
Rintel, S. (2015). Omnirelevance in technologized interaction: Couples coping with video calling distortions. Pp. 123-150 in R. Fitzgerald & W. Housley (Eds.). Membership categorization analysis: Studies of social knowledge in action. London: Sage.

Slideware: Chattopadhyay, D., Salvadori, F., O’Hara, K., Rintel, S. (2018) Beyond presentation: Shared slideware control as a resource for collocated collaboration. Human Computer Interaction (Special Issue on Collocated Interaction), 33 (5-6), 455-498. DOI: 10.1080/07370024.2017.1388170
[Download via MSR]
Memes: Rintel, S. (2013). Crisis Memes: The Importance of Templatability to Internet Culture and Freedom of ExpressionAustralasian Journal of Popular Culture, 2(2): 253-271. DOI: 10.1386/ajpc.2.2.253_1 [Download via MSR]

See also: Rintel, S. (2014, January 13). Explainer: what are memes? The Conversation. [FREE]

Error messages: Rintel, S. (2011, November 2). The Evolution of Fail Pets: Strategic Whimsy and Brand Awareness in Error MessagesUX Magazine (Online). [FREE]
Online chat: Rintel, E.S., Pittam, J., & Mulholland, J. 2003. Time will tell: Ambiguous non-responses on Internet Relay Chat. The Electronic Journal of Communication, 13, (1). [FREE]

See also: Rintel, E. S. & Pittam, J. 1997. Strangers in a strange land: Interaction management on Internet Relay Chat. Human Communication Research, 23, 507-534.

Articles, Papers, Chapters
2018

Chattopadhyay, D., Salvadori, F., O’Hara, K., Rintel, S. (2018) Beyond presentation: Shared slideware control as a resource for collocated collaboration. Human Computer Interaction (Special Issue on Collocated Interaction), 33 (5-6), 455-498. DOI: 10.1080/07370024.2017.1388170

2017

Harper, R., Rintel, S., Watson, W., O’Hara, K. (2017) The ‘Interrogative Gaze’: making video calling and messaging ‘accountable’. In Harper, R., Licoppe, C. & Watson, D., Journal of Pragmatics (Special Issue on Skype and domestic settings), 27 (3), 319–350, doi: 10.1075/prag.27.3.02har [FREE]

2016

Rintel, S., Harper, R., and O’Hara, K. (2016). The tyranny of the everyday in mobile video messaging. In Proceedings of the 34th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA. DOI: 10.1145/2858036.2858.42
Chattopadhyay, D., O’Hara, K., Rintel, S. and Rädle, R. (2016). Office Social: Presentation Interactivity for Nearby Devices. In Proceedings of the 34th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA. DOI: 10.1145/2858036.2858337
Fitzgerald, R., & Rintel, S. (2016). Reorienting categories as a members’ phenomena. Pp. 181-193 in C. Tileagă & E. Stokoe (Eds.). Discursive psychology: Classic and contemporary studies. London: Routledge.
Rintel, S., Angus, D., & Fitzgerald, R. (2016). Ripples of mediatization: Social media and the exposure of the pool interview. Discourse, Context & Media, 11, 50-64, DOI: 10/1016/j.dcm.2015.10.003

2015

Rintel, S. (2015). Omnirelevance in technologized interaction: Couples coping with video calling distortions. Pp. 123-150 in R. Fitzgerald & W. Housley (Eds.). Membership categorization analysis: Studies of social knowledge in action. London: Sage.
Rintel, S., O’Hara, K. Yeganeh, B.R., Rädle, R. (2015). Ad hoc adaptability in video-calling. Position paper for ITS2015 Workshop on Interacting with Multi-Device Ecologies in the Wild. [FREE]
Baharin, H., Viller, S., & Rintel, S. (2015). SonicAIR: Supporting independent living with reciprocal ambient audio awarenessACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 22, 4, Article 18, 1-23. DOI: 10.1145/2754165 [FREE]
Rintel, S., Harper, R., Watson, R., and O’Hara, K. (2015). ‘Me For You’: Lessons About Everyday Video Messaging From Skype Qik. Position paper for CHI2015 Workshop on Everyday Telepresence: Emerging Practices and Future Research Directions. [FREE]
Rintel, S. (2015).  Conversation Analysis of Video-Mediated Communication: Interactional Repair of Distortion in Long-Distance Couples’ Video Calls. Sage Research Methods. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781473947481

2014

Harrison, J., Rintel, S., & Mitchell, E.K. (2014). Australian Social Media Trends. Pp. 589-627 in C. Litang  & M.H. Prosser (Eds.). Social Media in Asia. Doerzbach, Germany: Dignity Press.

2013

Baharin, H., Rintel, S., & Viller, S. (2013). Rhythms of the Domestic Soundscape: Ethnomethodological Soundwalks for Phatic Technology Design. In P. Kotzé et al. (Eds.): INTERACT 2013, Part IV, LNCS 8120, pp. 463–470, 2013. [FREE]
Francois, A., Hebbani, A. & Rintel, S. (2013). Facebook in the university workplaceMedia International Australia, 149, 15-27.
Fitzgerald, R. & Rintel, S. (2013). From lifeguard to bitch: The problem of promiscuous categories in story telling via video chat by a long-distance coupleAustralian Journal of Communication, 40 (2). [FREE] [Includes video]
Rintel, S. (2013). Video Calling in Long-Distance Relationships: The Opportunistic use of Audio/Video Distortions as a Relational ResourceThe Electronic Journal of Communication / La Revue Electronic de Communication (EJC/REC) Special issue on Videoconferencing in Practice: 21st Century Challenges, 23 (1&2) [FREE] [Includes video]
Rintel, S. (2013). Tech-tied or tongue-tied? Technological versus social trouble in relational video calling. Proceedings of the Forty-Sixth Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (pp. 3343-3352). DOI: 10.1109/HICSS.2013.512 [FREE]
Rintel, S. (2013). Crisis Memes: The Importance of Templatability to Internet Culture and Freedom of ExpressionAustralasian Journal of Popular Culture, 2(2): 253-271. DOI: 10.1386/ajpc.2.2.253_1
Angus, D., Rintel, S. & Wiles, J. (2013). Making sense of big text: A visual-first approach for analysing text data using Leximancer and DiscursisInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology (Special Issue: Computational Social Science: Research Strategies, Design and Methods) 16 (3), 261-267, doi: 10.1080/13645579.2013.774186

2012

Harris, J., Theobald, M., Danby, S., Reynolds, E., Rintel, S. (2012). What’s going on here? The pedagogy of a data analysis session. Pp. 83-95 in Lee & Danby (Eds.) Reshaping doctoral education: International Approaches and Pedagogies. London: Routledge.
Rintel, S. (2012). Review of D. Crystal, Internet Linguistics: A Student Guide. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 35, (2), 218-220. [FREE]
Yang, J., Viller, S., & Rintel, S. (2012). Outsourcing: Mashing up design methods and technologies in the fashion industry. Participatory Innovation Conference (PIN-C) 2012, January 12-14, Melbourne, Australia.

2011

Rintel, S. (2011, November 2). The Evolution of Fail Pets: Strategic Whimsy and Brand Awareness in Error MessagesUX Magazine (Online). [FREE]

2010

Rintel, E. Sean. 2010. Conversational management of network trouble perturbations in personal videoconferencing. In Proceedings of the 22nd Conference of the Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group of Australia on Computer-Human Interaction (OZCHI ’10) (pp. 304-311). doi: 10.1145/1952222.1952288

2007

Rintel, S. 2007. Maximizing environmental validity: remote recording of desktop videoconferencing. In Proceedings of the 12th international conference on Human-computer interaction: interaction design and usability (HCI’07) (pp. 911-920). doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-73105-4_100 [FREE]

2004

Pomerantz, A. & Rintel, E.S. 2004. Practices for reporting and responding to test results during medical consultations: Enacting the roles of paternalism and independent expertise. Discourse Studies, 6, (1): 9–26. doi: 10.1177/1461445604039437

2003

Rintel, E.S., Pittam, J., & Mulholland, J. 2003. Time will tell: Ambiguous non-responses on Internet Relay Chat. The Electronic Journal of Communication, 13, (1). [FREE]

2001

Rintel, E.S., Mulholland, J., & Pittam, J. 2001. First things first: Internet Relay Chat openings. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 6, (3). [FREE]
McKay, S., & Rintel, E.S. 2001. Online Television Forums: Interactivity, Access, and Transactional Space. The Electronic Journal of Communication, 11, (2). [FREE]

1997

Rintel, E. S. & Pittam, J. 1997. Strangers in a strange land: Interaction management on Internet Relay Chat. Human Communication Research, 23, 507-534.

Editing

2015-2017: Senior Editor (Communication Technology), The Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Communication.
2013: Rintel, S., Fitzgerald, R., and Reynolds, E. (Eds). Knowledge and Asymmetries in Action. Australian Journal of Communication, 39, (2).
2012: Rintel, S. (Ed). Videoconferencing in Practice: 21st Century ChallengesThe Electronic Journal of Communication / La Revue Electronic de Communication (EJC/REC), 23, (1-2).
2003: Denvir, P., & Rintel, E. S. 2003. Joke. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 6, (5).
2002: Mitchell, P., & Rintel, E. S. 2002. Loop. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 5 (4).
2000: Meakins, F., & Rintel, E. S. 2000. Chat. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 3 (4).

Conference Presentations

Rintel, S. (2015). Technological affordances as categorical resources in video-mediated communication: From particularity to omnirelevance. International Institute of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis. Kolding, Denmark, 4-7 August 2015.
Rintel, S. & Fitzgerald, R. (2015). “What’s your definition of playing with it?” Category promiscuity as a multi-modal participant practice in teasing in a couple’s video call. 14th International Pragmatics Conference. Antwerp, Belgium, 26-31 July 2015.
Rintel, S. (2014). Video-mediated communication and interrogative gazes: Thoughts after releasing Skype Qik into the wild. News Discourse in the Digital Age: Dominant, Residual and Emerging Norms of Discourse Practice. University of Macau, Hengqin Campus, 27-29 November 2014, Macao, SAR.
Fitzgerald, F, & Rintel, S. (2012) From lifeguard to bitch: The problem of promiscuous categories in story telling. Australian Institute of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (AIEMCA) 2012. November 29-30, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
Fitzgerald, R. & Rintel, S. 2011. “Soundbite or Interview: The Anatomy of a Category Disjuncture.” 3rd New Zealand Discourse Conference (NZDC3). December 5 to 7, Auckland, New Zealand.
Rintel, E.S. 2011. “Using Humour to Manage Technological Difficulties in First Uses of Personal Videoconferencing.” Laughter and Humor in Interaction Conference, June 23-24, Emerson College, Boston MA, USA.
Rintel, E.S. 2010. “Network trouble as an interactional resource in personal videoconferencing”. National Communication Association 96th Annual Convention, November 14-17, 2009, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Rintel, E.S. 2010. “Constituting long-distance intimacy through practices for coping with network trouble in personal videoconferencing.” The 12th International Conference on Language and Social Psychology (ICLASP) June 16-19th, 2010. Brisbane, Australia.
Rintel, E.S. 2009. “Coping with personal desktop videoconferencing bandwidth problems: Reactions, resolution outcome and continuity outcomes.” Top Student Paper in Human Communication and Technology, National Communication Association 95th Annual Convention, November 12-15, 2009, Chicago, Illinois.
Rintel, S. 2005. “Situated Exploratory Learning of Communication Technology: Questions Prompted by a Single Case Analysis of Personal IP Videoconferencing.” 55th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association. New York, NY, May.
Pomerantz, A., & Rintel, E.S. 2002. Displaying deference while seeking information: Analysis of patients’ information seeking strategies. Top-Four paper in Language and Social Interaction Division. 88th Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, New Orleans, November.
Rintel, E.S., & McKay, S. 2002. “Doing Online Fandom: Engagement with and interaction within the Official Big Brother website.” Australian and New Zealand Communication Association National Conference, Gold Coast, July.
Rintel, E.S. 2001. “The user – researcher – designer menage a trois: Lessons from ten years of research on interpersonal relationships in Internet Relay Chat.” 51st Annual Conference of the International Communication Association panel on Mediated Communication in Relationships, jointly sponsored by the Interpersonal Communication and Communication and Technology divisions. Washington DC, May.
McKay, S., & Rintel, E.S. 2001. “‘Have a good time, make some friends, then go watch TV!’: Online television forums.” 51st Annual Conference of the International Communication Association. Washington DC, May.
Rintel, E.S. 2000. “First things first: Internet Relay Chat openings.” 50th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association. Acapulco, June.
Rintel, E.S., & Pittam, J. 1998. “Beliefs about Anonymity and Identity in IRC Interactions.” 4th Meeting of the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists. Canberra, April. Rintel, E.S., & Pittam, J. 1997. “Communicative and Non-Communicative Silence on Internet Relay Chat: Management and Function.” 47th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association. Montreal, May.
Rintel, E.S., & Pittam, J. 1996. “Strangers in a Strange Land: Managing Interaction on Internet Relay Chat.” Poster presentation. 46th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association. Chicago, May.
Rintel, E.S., & Pittam, J. 1996. “The Management of Silence on Internet Relay Chat.” Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference, Brisbane, July.

Journalism/Op-Ed

Rintel, S. (2014, January 16). When did you consent to Facebook’s self-censorship researchThe Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2014, January 13). Explainer: what are memes? The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2014, January 6). A thin blue line: how Facebook deals with controversial contentThe Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2013, September 13). NBN petition and the backlash: when does democracy speak? The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2013, September 9). FAIL: Why memes were not the key to Election 2013. Election 2013 media panel post. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2013, August 30). Meme trends are decidedly anti-LNP. Election 2013 media panel post. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2013, August 16). Electoral silence on digital rights from both politicians and journalists. Election 2013 media panel post. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2013, August 11). Who generates election memes? Election 2013 media panel post. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2013, June 11). Nine reasons you should care about NSA’s PRISM surveillanceThe Conversation.
Zhang, Y. (Rintel, S. Contributor) (2013, April 16). Baidu Eye: ‘micro-innovation’ or copying Google Glass? The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2013, April 10). ‘Slacktivism’ vs ‘snarktivism’: how do you take your online activism? The Conversation.
Rintel, S. & Lim, C. (2012, September 21). Stalking your ex on Facebook is creepy … and bad for you. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2012, July 28). Social media winners and losers in the Olympics opening ceremony. The Conversation.
Zhang, Y. & Rintel, S. (2012, July 20). Chinese internet censorship? Seeking the ‘truth’ on Weibo. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2012, July 17). Meme team: Olympic fandom meets the internet. The Conversation.
Zhang, Y. & Rintel, S. (2012, June 29). No-no on Weibo: China challenges the New York Times. The Conversation.
Ballard, S. & Rintel, S. (2012, June 28). Are undergrads really more influential than Gruen panelists? Klout thinks somUmBRELLA.
Rintel, S. (2012, June 18). Airtime’s Facebook video service gambles on the kindness of strangers. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2012, May 31). Mindshare is still Facebook’s biggest asset. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2012, May 2). Convergence Review: A bet each way on user-generated content. The Conversation (Online).
Rintel, S. (2012, April 20). Eau de MacBook Pro takes ‘unboxing porn’ to a new level. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2012, March 22). A new way to share – why Pinterest isn’t just another social network. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2012, March 19). What This American Life’s retraction can teach us about the Finkelstein report. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2011, December 8). Should we send work email to the trash? The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2011, November 2). The Evolution of Fail Pets: Strategic Whimsy and Brand Awareness in Error MessagesUX Magazine (Online).
Rintel, S. (2011, November 4). Do privacy settings work in the age of online reputation management? The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2011, November 3). Unthink rethinks online identity – and fronts up to Facebook and Google+. The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2011, November 2). The Evolution of Fail Pets: Strategic Whimsy and Brand Awareness in Error MessagesUX Magazine (Online).
Rintel, S. (2011, October 17). Why aren’t we using Google+? The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2011, August 30). Is StumbleUpon trumping Facebook in the internet attention wars? The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2011, August 15). Obama? Norway killings? London riots? You can has a meme for that… The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2011, July 18). Are Facebook and Google+ limiting your opinions? The Conversation.
Rintel, S. (2011, July 12). Face to Facebook: Can video chat get over its hang-ups? The Conversation.

Projets

Publications

Vidéos

Autres

On “Until anon”: Unique and deliberate email greeting and signoff conventions

For years in email now I’ve deliberately used “G’day” as a greeting term and “Until anon” as a sign-off. I regularly get asked about what “Until anon” means, and why I use it. So here’s the answer.

“Until anon” came about because my undergraduate university started giving out free student accounts in 1994, and I was one of the first non-computer-science students to get one. At that time people wrote email much more like letters, with fairly consistent “Dear X” and “Cheers, Y” addresses and sign-offs. It rapidly became apparent to me that everyone was using very similar formats, which was fine but a little dull, and also did not really personalise the email.
As such, I made a conscious decision to find a unique sign-on and sign-off to personalise my email and also be a bit of an indicator my character and, perhaps, that it was really me writing the email. For a while I used “Hi Ho X”  to address the email, ripped off from Kermit the Frog in his newscaster job because it was funny. However, an American friend at the time was a little shocked by the possible misreading of “Ho”. I thought that was a bit overwrought but there you go. So I changed to “G’day”, which would indicate being Australian. I used various sign-offs, but often settled on “See ya, Y” to also indicate my being Australian. But “See ya” also felt a little too informal, so I went looking around for an alternative. I found it, actually, in 1995, in the film Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead. There is a scene in which the lead character, Jimmy, is warned about a situation by two thugs working for a crime boss. This is the dialogue:
  • Thug 1: Jimmy the Saint.
  • Jimmy: Hello, boys.
  • Thug 2: That’s a nice suit. Versace ?
  • Jimmy: No.
  • Thug 2:  Armani ?
  • Jimmy: No.
  • Thug 2:  Hugo Boss ?
  • Jimmy: What’s with this ?
  • Thug 1: Ellie’s S.O. said he needed a hobby.
  • Jimmy: Fashion is his hobby ?
  • Thug 1: He tried makin’ his own pasta. Didn’t move him.
  • Thug 2: A three-button ventless.I like that, Jimmy. Classy. ‘Course, uh, you gotta have the build for it.
  • Jimmy: What’s up ?
  • Thug 1: He wants to see you, Jim.
  • Jimmy: Aw, come on. What for ?
  • Thug 1: Hey, what can I tell ya ? He says, “Gus, I wanna see Jimmy the Saint.”
  • Jimmy: I said, “Boss, Jimmy the Saint ain’t mixin’ it up no more.”
  • Thug 1: He says, “Gus, I wanna see Jimmy the Saint.” Here we are. The point of me arguing seemed, uh, specious.
  • Thug 2: Gus is readin’ the dictionary.
  • Jimmy: Good. When does he want to see me ?
  • Thug 1: Now.
  • Jimmy: Now ?
  • Thug 1: Anon.
I thought it was just so brilliant both thugs have been ‘improving’ themselves, and that this thug, who has been reading the dictionary, pulls out “anon” to add a subtlety of timing in response to Jimmy’s question of “now?”. I also heard “anon” and possibly “until anon” in some Shakespearean play, possibly Henry V, around the same time.
So I decided that this was amusingly archaic and would probably be unique. And so it is. I get asked about it regularly. I also find that people see it and respond using similarly archaic language, even though I might have been extremely informal otherwise in my email to them. To be honest, that is amusing as well, because it adds a layer of meta-textual interest to the email interaction. I could use personalised HTML email stationary, I suppose, but (a) I ‘grew’ up without it, so I’ve never gotten used to it, (b) it does not look consistent across email applications, so you can’t be sure of the impression you’re giving, and (c) I consider it an unnecessary waste of bandwidth (these days this final point is probably less relevant, but it was very relevant when we were being charged by the kilobyte!).
For what it’s worth, I always type both address and sign-off. Neither are automated, so I can change them when necessary. It would be odd to use them in every context. However, I use them most of the time, and I do so deliberately. Of course, not everyone needs or wants a unique and deliberate email address and sign-off convention, but it does add just that little bit of interest and personalisation to the otherwise hum-drum email enterprise.
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