Network Behavior Of Homo Digitalis In Combined Communication Space


The study of the variable forms of verbal behavior of a person speaking, immersed in the “digital sphere” of combined communicative interaction, will highlight the tendencies of a specific transformation of the mobile identity of a “person speaking” into a “person digital”. The starting point of the research is the presentation of digital regulatives as verbal actions of a demonstrative type of behavior of interactants in digital communication, aimed at solving a global communication problem to expand and adapt the scope of application of the combined functional space of digital technologies to their goals. A typical series of digital demonstrative regulatives is distinguished as units of interaction in a combined social network space. In their manifest variety of network interaction, digital regulatives as explicators of the configuration variability of targeted demonstratives have a set of performative properties implemented in virtual-network interactive platforms with certain pragmatic attitudes towards the social demonstration of self-presentation of the mobile identity of each of the actors. It has been established that in digital communication, network practices - demonstratives perform a number of functions, among which the most relevant are focusing, stimulating, meaning-forming, construct-forming, reframing and fascinating functions. The fascination function is due to the calling of images of symbolic expression, sympathy and experience, which are inevitable in the conditions of mixed communication of the real and virtual worlds. The functional variety of demonstrative I-practices allows us to consider performative I-media as a genre variety of demonstrative directives.

Keywords: Actordemonstrative regulativesdigital communicationmobile identityperformativenessregulative markers


The dominance in the IT sphere of all kinds of computer resources paved the way for the emergence in the global cyberspace of virtual network communications of a new approach, conventionally referred to as the “digital communication” paradigm, which is capable on a systemic basis of instantly spreading digital knowledge, to synergistically function in the “world of complex or combined reality” integratively formed into a single intersecting communicative space by the real and virtual network worlds. The term “digital” was introduced into scientific circulation by N. Negroponte and goes back to the Latin “digitalis” (“as thick as a finger; finger; new Latin : digital”) (Podosinov et al., 1999, p. 88). In line with the works of the scientific direction "Linguopragmatic modeling by speech control of dialogical interactions", the term "digital" is used in a figurative meaning and is interpreted as "virtually imprinted" in the information environment of a mobile public network verbal-semiotic communicative practices in the form of digital indicators and images of the SoftMedia language that function in the “world of combined realities” (Romanov, 1988, pp. 6-8; 2020, pp. 10-16; Romanov & Romanova, 2017, pp. 3-6; 2019, pp. 25-27).

The breadth of coverage of such communication practices extends from computer design, the "Internet of Things", editing, creating databases to messengers, social media platforms, digital cultural studies, art, historiography, applied linguistics, pedagogy, as well as the culture of creativity in literature, art, “gaming culture”, “culture of hacking”. The terms digital vs numeric communication are intended to reflect the functionally transposed transition to the modern level of development of communication technologies that contribute to the use of digital technologies in digital (numeric) humanities (DH), which includes culture, science and communication in a broad sense (Jaszczolt, 2019; Reinhold, 2006; Toffler, 2010).

Digital communication in digital humanities is not only high computer technologies, but culture in the context of new relations between various actors in the sphere of digital communication, it is a different model of interaction between all participants in the communicative process, which inevitably generates changes in the character, style and semiotic demonstration of the typical behavior of digital interaction participants. In modern conditions of the development of the digital paradigm, it becomes necessary to rethink on a large scale the specifics of the implementation of the communicative behavior of the speaking subject in a new environment of network interaction that go beyond the framework of the “face-to-face communication” model.

Problem Statement

Based on the working concept of “digitalization”, it is important to take into account that there is no generally accepted definition of the phenomenon of “digitalization”. There is an opinion that digitization is a well-forgotten scientific direction, which used to be called either “computing humanities” or “humanities computing”. There are statements that “digitalization” as a concept first appeared in world practice long before the onset of the modern era of “digitalization”. The intensive development of “digitalization”, “digital humanities” and “digital communication” directs researchers to search for answers to a number of questions affecting the status of the digital paradigm.

Research Questions

The question arises: is it possible today to consider the digital paradigm a new scientific direction or are we dealing with the same well-known phenomenon of ordinary data counting, carried out about 70 years ago using computer programs? Or: how does “digital communication” differ and does it differ from ordinary communication and what are the explicit features of the verbal behavior of the speaking subject in it? Questions are also important about whether, how and to what extent the identification of the mobility of the actor's personality as an agent subject of interactive activity is transformed in the new (combined) paradigm, and whether at the transitional stage to the new paradigm there are any semiotic significant markers indicating any characteristic manifestations vs changes in human behavior in the “digital paradigm” as a participant immersed in the “digital sphere”, as a “digital person” (homo digitalis)?

Purpose of the Study

“Digital communication science” as an integrative branch of a new scientific direction “digital humanities” (DH) is the product of a scientific and technological symbiosis of "smart data" obtained as a result of the use of modern computer technologies and collected in the humanities sphere of human life “complex data, allowing not only “psychographically modeling the typical behavior of the personality of the communication participant” (Romanov & Nemets, 2006, pp. 31-44), but also taking into account his typical “leaps to conclusions” (Kecskemeti, 1952, pp. 33-36), i.e. predicting the process of the resulting choice when making standard decisions. If a person's behavior results from his personality, and the information transmitted to him does not automatically pass into the elements of his behavior (Romanov, 1995, pp. 156-172), then it becomes clear: the search for answers to the questions posed leads not only to the study of problems associated with a thorough search, collection and the processing of the obtained data on the semiotic forms of actor behavior in the scenario manifestations of “digital communication”, but also on the development of an integrated methodology for identifying the functional conditions of the interaction model between all participants in combined communicative interaction. Therefore, the study of the variable forms of verbal behavior of a person speaking, immersed in the “digital sphere” of combined communicative interaction, will highlight the tendencies of a specific transformation of the mobile identity of a “speaker” (homo eloquens) into a “digital person” (homo digitalis).

Research Methods

The description of the verbal behavior of a person speaking as an actor in digital communication and the identification of the specifics of his “immersion” in the sphere of combined interactions determine the use of a wide range of tools of the theory of speech activity, the theory of speech acts, psychosemantics and functional-semantic analysis. The theoretical basis for describing the specifics of the verbal-semiotic behavior of participants in digital communication is a regulatory-activity approach to the analysis of interactive-dialogical unities, developed in the Tver Scientific School of Dynamic Communication, which is based on the linguistic-pragmatic model of speech control of dialogical communication, which allows describing the regulatory activity of the actors themselves as participants in such communication in the form of an organized system of its regulatives (Romanov, 1988, 2020).

The starting point of the research is the presentation of digital regulatives as verbal actions of a demonstrative type of behavior of interactants, aimed at solving the global communicative task to expand and adapt the scope of application of the combined functional space of digital technologies to their goals, and at intensifying the “immersion” in this space of each participant in the role position of “speaker” (homo eloquens) and “social person” (homo socialis), so that as he masters “ digital literacy ” and realizes his attitudes, such a participant can prepare himself for the gradual “expansion” of the personal and communicative mobility of his identity to the necessary parameters of the complex, interactive-role position of “media / network person” (homo medialis / homo informaticus) and “digital person” (homo digitalis).


Digitalization as a “new technology” of the global information environment, forming a public network of mobile devices in conjunction with the “computing power of network PCs” (Reinhold, 2006, p. 11), is “a paradigm shift in how we think, how we act, how we communicate with the external environment and with each other”. And the technology here, as A. Marey believes, is more a tool than a goal. For the concept of “universal digitalization is less about technology, and more about culture, about changes and about a model of interaction” (Marey, 2019, pp. 2-4). Regardless of the “narrow” or “wide” interpretation, the new digital paradigm already today has tremendous applied capabilities in terms of information transfer and is capable of forming new technological “environments” (“platforms”), within which any user can create a “friendly” environment: financial, technological or methodical, which helps to more effectively solve classes of complex problems (Bhatia, 2017; Johansson, 2014; Kirner-Ludwig, 2019; Novoselova et al., 2015).

The digital paradigm is embedded in the economic and social spheres of life and is actively transforming them (Gredel, 2017; Lyons, 2018; Metzger & Flanagin, 2013; Spencer-Oatey & Xing, 2019; Vicente, 2017): one can observe the introduction of “digitized technologies in the banking sector” (Marey, 2019; Schwab, 2016), in the educational environment (Kullaslahti et al., 2019; Mukhametzyanov, 2019; Nowakowski & Bernard, 2019; Smolyaninova & Bezyzvestnykh, 2019; Vainshtein et al., 2019) and in “the digital future of Russian media” (Vartanova et al., 2017), which determines the urgent need of society to develop an integrated system of “ digital knowledge ” as a conventional set of concepts, values, ideas and communicative and social practices that implement them, accepted by the community and used to form a certain vision of reality, that is, the picture of the world or “colors of thought and view of the world”. On the basis of such a systemic body of knowledge, interactants communicating with each other are able to organize themselves according to the scenario mechanism of autopoiesis and thereby master, implement and develop “ digital literacy ”. In this direction, the approach developed in the new paradigm, conventionally called “ linguodigitalistics ”, is already beginning to assert itself (Romanov & Romanova, 2017, 2019).

It is important to fix the tendencies for the change in the mobility of the social and personal identity of the “person speaking” and the forms of his behavior based on “ digital knowledge ”. It is no less important to make transinteractive communication processes between its participants transparent and effective: “human actors and actors-human-substituting (agentive-like) control systems-devices” acting in a homogenized metacommunicative sphere or the “world” of combined realities as equal “ agentive ” partners-participants of separate digital metacommunicative interactions within one network platform. The processes of such interaction between people and “human-replacing” devices-systems are observed today on the basis of combined interactive-network platforms called the Internet of Things. Another example of such interaction is the Yandex.Taxi platform, which develops and introduces unmanned vehicles into the real world of human life, (also compare it to other examples) (Lorenzo-Dus & Izura, 2017; Malyuga & McCarthy, 2018; Meredith, 2017). The scale of the “revolutionary” transformations introduced by the digital paradigm is already beginning to change “not only “what” and “how” we do, but also “who” we are in the modern world” (Culpeper & Gillings, 2019; Kapra, 2003; Marey, 2019; Schwab, 2016; Toffler, 2010).

Today, digital paradigm transformations are actively involved in the dynamic re-formatting of the mobility of our identity. But if the questions “what we are doing” and “how we are doing” are partially answered in assessments of the level development of high technologies, then the questions “how we position ourselves” in this expansive space of digital culture, when and how our picture of the world changes as radical technological changes are taking place, and “if it is possible today to observe” any semiotic verbal-averbal markers-signals in the communicative behavior of the person speaking are still waiting for their answer. Taking such markers into account would help to highlight not only the process of staged immersion of a “media / digital person” into the “combined world” of interactions between virtual and objective realities, but also to record changes in his behavior. The questions posed are related to the special properties of digital communication and the specifics of the participants' use of digital “literacy” in real-network interaction both with each other and with “human-replacing agentive” systems-devices.

The dominant presence of properties (contactlessness, scale, multitasking, simultaneous diversity and situational composability, network attachment, network comfort, compatibility, saving resources and time, dominance of digital content, digital dominance over the meaning of messages) is demonstrative, which not only determine the specifics of digital communication, but also predetermine the nature of the parameters of the mobility of personal identity, setting behavior outline formats of a “media / digital person”. Such an outline allows the format image (idea) to blur the boundaries between the scenarios of “life” both in a combined digital virtuality and in everyday communication. The fixed prevalence of properties simultaneous diversity, accessibility, polymodality, figurative blurring, routinization of the way of life, acceleration of the life pace, character autopoiesis (self-construction), absolute control of the impression of one's character, uncontrolled self-presentation, dominance of visual “screenness” in messages reflects the desire of all digital communication participants to modify their network, personal identity and the mobility of the identity of one’s Self of a “person speaking / social / media / digital”. The mobility of the identity of the “person-replacing” control system-device is observed only in the nature of role positions. But in any case, the range of possible transformation will not change the vector of modification orientation from an ordinary (accidental) visitor, partner, follower, supporter, helper and friend to the level of I-media as a source, causator, initiator and center of the exchange crossroad of information flows.

And although “neither theories nor the data collected by biologists, sociologists, and economists can predict what people will do when surrounded by situational networks, wearable computers, ubiquitous information environments and interactive reputation systems” (Reinhold, 2006, p. 188), nevertheless both in the paradigm of digital communication and in the space of communicative scenarios of everyday life, one can record the emerging tendency of interactants of various orders to realize their communicative behavior through “demonstrative communicative acts or demonstratives” (Romanov, 1988, 2020). Therefore, the paradigm of digital communication is aimed at creating and instilling in interactants new content and new forms of “regulatory (coordinated) behavior that can mutually complement, enrich, integrate into each other and correct one another” (Romanov, 1988, pp. 6-8). The regulatory nature of new forms and new content of digital communication units is able to connect the mental sphere of people and their communicative environment, which, according to M. Castells, “is tantamount to re-equipping our mind”, when “a person begins to feel, think differently, master new meanings and new rules to make sense of these values” (2016, p. 449). For effective interaction in such conditions, it is necessary to develop a special complex system of “code of trust” (Romanov, 1988, pp. 56-68), both between all participants in hypernetwork interaction and the network spaces of various Internet platforms.

Digital communication will inevitably face the problems of creating a language of “single communication”, which should reflect the nuances of compatibility, scalability and coherence of communication practices and relationships between a real human partner and “human-replacing” systems-devices. In this context, a special role is assigned to the process of creation and subsequent development of the resource triad, covering the close relationship between the digital knowledge hypersystem, interactive conditions and properties of digital communication, and the communicative rules of digital “literacy”. The proposed view of the resource triad allows us to reveal and describe the dynamics of manifestations of the personal identity of a human partner in digital communication and formulate in it a system of expectations of a human actor regarding the role behavior of his partners as “agentive” systems-devices. According to this approach, the digital “literacy” format occupies an important position in the resource triad, because it allows revealing the scope of the boundaries of the “world” of digitalization and outlining the contours of the border areas of digital technologies application.

Therefore, gradually “immersing” into the active virtual space of digital communication, its participants act demonstratively in a given format, communicatively presenting their behavior through performative discursive information in the form of an integrated network I-practice: “I-media as a source of performative influence - I present to you and thereby - “I speak / inform / show to you” - and in such a way “I cause / induce you”, so that in your personal connection to me in the form of a response message, action - you connected with me and transformed like me - became united with me and in solidarity in the position We-media we have formed with the aim of spreading (replicating and broadcasting) our joint intentions in the infosphere”.


The main strategic task of the “person speaking” as a participant in digital-communicative interaction is “immersion” in its virtual network reality and transformation of one’s mobile identity into the “person media / digital” (network “ I -media”) in order to present oneself and leave an “imprint” (“trace”) of the role-playing self in the form of demonstrative self-referential forms of one's behavior, to become “one's own” (to take root) and “register” in the network space as an actual source of the initial platform of successful communicative interaction with both of their own kind and “human-replacing” devices. The process of "immersion" of the participants of digital-communicative interaction in the integrative-network space is explicated by verbal behavior through communicative-network performative practices.

The most relevant functions of the network self -demonstratives are focusing, stimulating, meaning-forming, construct-forming, reframing and fascinating functions. The latter is associated with the calling of images of symbolic expression, sympathy and experience, which are inevitable in the conditions of mixed communication of the real and virtual worlds. The functional diversity of demonstrative I -practices in digital communication allows us to consider performative I -media as a genre variant of the demonstrative directive , which unfolds according to the scheme: I- media as a network actor demonstrate myself to the entire combined space and thus present myself and, therefore, I am seen by everyone as I present myself , as I exist at the moment of my network presentation, as I exist in the presented I- image and in a role like I exist designed so that Everyone who sees me will appreciate me (directives - “accept me as such” and “follow my instructions "), recognized me as such , identified me in the network as such and did as I did (directives: “ do as I do - do your role as I do ”, “ imitate me ”).


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Romanov, A., & Romanova, L. (2021). Network Behavior Of Homo Digitalis In Combined Communication Space. In E. V. Toropova, E. F. Zhukova, S. A. Malenko, T. L. Kaminskaya, N. V. Salonikov, V. I. Makarov, A. V. Batulina, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, & A. M. Grinev (Eds.), Man, Society, Communication, vol 108. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1199-1206). European Publisher.