Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Being 'Always On' Impacts Personal Relationships More Than It Impacts The Written Language

Date:
May 24, 2008
Source:
American University
Summary:
Instant messaging. Blogs. Wikis. Social networking sites. Cell phones. All of these allow us to communicate with each other--wherever, whenever. Many people speculate that online and mobile technologies have widely impacted written language, especially that of teenagers and young adults. But a linguistics expert says that surprisingly, this probably isn't so.

Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World.
Credit: Oxford University Press, U.S.A.

Instant messaging. Blogs. Wikis. Social networking sites. Cell phones. All of these allow us to communicate with each other—wherever, whenever. Many people speculate that online and mobile technologies have widely impacted written language, especially that of teenagers and young adults. Naomi Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University, says that surprisingly, this probably isn’t so.

Related Articles


“Technologies such as email, instant messaging and text messaging aren’t sounding the death knell for written language as we know it,” Baron said. “In fact, studies in the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden all report that teenagers have a rather clear understanding that ‘school writing’ is different from the messages they send to friends.”

Baron is the author of Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World (Oxford University Press, 2008). Drawing on a decade of research, she looks at how technology has influenced our reading, writing, speaking and listening behaviors. She suggests that we should be less concerned about the effect of technology on our writing and focus instead on how it might be changing our interpersonal relationships.

“People have always found ways to avoid unwanted conversation: crossing the street when a person you don’t want to talk with is approaching or hanging up the phone if your boyfriend’s mother—rather than your boyfriend—answers,” Baron said. “However, new online and mobile technologies increase the range of options at our disposal for choosing when we want to interact with whom. We check caller ID on our cell phones before taking the call. We block people on IM or Facebook. And we forward email or text messages to people for whom they were never intended.”

Since completing Always On, Baron has traveled around the world to talk with college students about how they use mobile and online technologies. Many students said they feel empowered by the way in which these technologies allow them to ignore calls or messages from certain family members and friends.

“Not one of them expressed any regrets or suspicion that such manipulation might be just plain rude,” Baron said. The students rationalized that the individuals trying to contact them were not aware that their calls or messages were being ignored—so no harm was done.

“I suspect that if you ask the parents or friends whose attempts at communication were blocked, you would hear a different story,” Baron said.

Although ignoring calls, emails and messages on our cell phones and laptops may potentially affect our relationships in a negative way, such behavior isn’t always a bad thing.

“While talking with students in Sweden and Italy, where mobile phones have been ubiquitous far longer than in the United States, I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of people who turned their phones off when they were studying, ignored incoming calls or text messages—even from good friends—while watching a movie on TV, or intentionally ‘forgot’ their phones from time to time just to have some peace,” Baron said. “My hope is that Americans are only going through a phase of feeling they must be ‘always on’ and that over time, we will regain a more balanced sense of communicative equilibrium.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American University. "Being 'Always On' Impacts Personal Relationships More Than It Impacts The Written Language." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520161340.htm>.
American University. (2008, May 24). Being 'Always On' Impacts Personal Relationships More Than It Impacts The Written Language. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520161340.htm
American University. "Being 'Always On' Impacts Personal Relationships More Than It Impacts The Written Language." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520161340.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can Samsung Pay Make Mobile Payments Catch On?

Can Samsung Pay Make Mobile Payments Catch On?

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Samsung unveiled a mobile payment system that could have a wider reach than Apple Pay thanks to technology that mimics a credit card&apos;s magnetic strip. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
HTC And Valve Team Up For Virtual Reality Headset

HTC And Valve Team Up For Virtual Reality Headset

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) HTC unveiled Vive, its new virtual reality headset, Sunday. The device is supported by gaming company Valve, which has made a push into the market. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 1, 2015) A rehabilitation robot prototype to help restore deteriorated nerves and muscles using electromyography and computer games. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins