We have developed a chatline environment that allows the recording of the interactions among a group of ten
participants. We have tried to arrange an environment that mimics that of an unstructured group of stranger participants.
Each participant has at his disposal a console with two textual windows, one for communicating with the rest of participants in a public way, and one to communicate to a selected subset in a private way. This should model loud
conversations and whispering. Since people do not see each other, we have included two ”radars” in the interface, in
which the symbols representing other participants may be placed (1). One radar is public, seen by others, and user
can only move his own symbol. The other is private, and one can move all others symbols while his own is always at
the center. In this way we are trying to offer an equivalent to external non-verbal communications (the public radars)
similar to changing place in order to be closer to a given person, and a mnemonic aid (the private radar) for the representation
of others’ identities and their perceived social proximity, as seen by each user. In order to corroborate this
interpretation, messages coming from a given individuals are darker is the individual is close in the public radar, and
vanishingly clear if she is far. Finally, each message can have a ”mood”, represented by a a small icon with thumb up,
down or neutral (2). This should condense the non-verbal content of a message (as usual in textual chats). Since the
semantic content of a message depends crucially on the cultural context, we are trying to extract informations only
from the timings of messages and the network of connections . For each of the communication channels (private
and public textual chats, public radar displacements, moods) we have extracted the relevant events from the log file,
and computed the activity indicators defined below.