You’ve Got Mail

Work Title: You've Got Mail
Medium: Film
Episode Title:
Year: 1998
Writer(s): Miklos Laszlo
"Original" Writer: Yes Writer(s): Nora Ephron
"Original" Writer: Yes Writer(s): Delia Ephron
"Original" Writer: Yes Own work?: No


From IMDB: Kathleen Kelly, owner of a little and famous bookstore for children's books, has an affair. Being together with Frank Navasky, a well-known journalist, she betrays him by e-mailing secretly and anonymously with a (also betraying) man whom she met in a chat room. Suddenly, her business gets endangered by the opening of Fox Books discount store just "around the corner". She meets Joe Fox, son of the owner, and soon gets annoyed by his arrogant way of managing business matters. Although getting advice by her anonymous mail-pal, she has to close down her store. But Joe Fox's life suddenly gets out of control when he learns that his anonymous mail-pal is nobody other than Kathleen Kelly. Written by Julian Reischl {}

  • Self-Written?:
  • Source Name: IMDB
  • Source URL:

Era/Year of Portrayal: present_day

Distinctive characteristics of the world in portrayal:

Typical 1998. Computers and the internet are becoming a more common way of communicating with people.


  • Name of portrayed presence-evoking technology: Computers and AOL (email and chat rooms)
  • Description of the technology: AOL is a easy-to-use internet provider that allows people to email and chat on a regular basis. Email address and screen names do not have to match the person's given name, so they can (intentionally or unintentionally) hide the user's identity.
  • Nature of task or activity: Both Joe and Kathleen experience presence through their regular emails and chat sessions.
  • Performance of the Technology: The technology brings the characters closer together, while keeping their identities (and her dislike of him) secret.
  • Description of creator(s): AOL is the company the created the email and chat accounts.
  • Major goal(s) of creator(s): The goal is to make money, provide entertainment and communication for the general public.
  • Description of users of technology: Joe and Kathleen appear to be in their late 30's to early 40's. Both run rival bookstores.
  • Type(s) of presence experience in the portrayal: social_presence
  • Description of presence experience: Both feel a bond over emails, so much so that both desire to meet each other in person, and Kathleen begins to question her relationship with her boyfriend.
  • User awareness of technology during experience: Joe and Kathleen are aware that they are using the technology, but unaware to each other's real identities
  • Valence of experience: Enjoyable, brings them together, but deceptive because masks who the other one really is.
  • Specific responses: Enjoyment, relationships, deception.
Long-term consequences:

It is a happy ending. Two rivals are able to build a successful relationship that otherwise wouldn't have happened over the internet since they don't know who the other one really is.


Similar to Sleepless in Seattle, but more current technology.

Coder name: Anne Russ
Coder email:
Coder affiliation: Graduate Student, Temple University.