Accepted Paper:

Electronic chain letter transmission: routes and reasons  

Author:

Daria Radchenko (RANEPA)

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyses the history and routes of Internet chain letter migration and the participants’ motivation to continue the chain in a case-study of two relevant Russian texts.

Paper long abstract:

Internet folklore corpus includes a number of genres and texts belonging to urban folklore, which adapted to the new digital environment. A curious example is the practice of chain letter sending, which to a large extent retained text structure yet changed both its pragmatics and social outline. Just like their paper predecessors, electronic chain letters can survive for years and travel across countries and social stratas. Yet, they differ in the ways of this transmission, based on the switch of the practice from anonymous "seeding" to a peculiar form of direct interpersonal communication taking place in a variety of channels: e-mail, IMs, blogs and forums, etc. The lists of the chain letters senders and receivers reveal both specific structure and demographic and social outline of the chain letter "communities" in different channels of Internet communication. The presented paper analyses the history and routes of chain letter migration and the participants' motivation to continue the chain in a case-study of two relevant Russian texts, which have reached at least 20,000 persons during five years of active rotation on the net.

Panel P06
Sincerely yours: ethnography of letters and correspondence