Gender and Computer-Mediated Communication: Emoticons in a Digital Forum in Persian

Document Type: Research Article


Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz


This study aimed to gain an insight into whether computer-mediated communication (CMC) in the form of a digital forum can reflect gendered discursive practices. A great deal of research has now established that computer-mediated interactions embody gendered differences in the use of emoticons, but few studies have examined the potential effect of the gender of the emoticon-receiver on the frequency and type of the emoticons. Drawing on a corpus of 386 posts from 26 interlocutors—both male and female participants—we explored how men and women receive emoticons, not just how they send emoticons. Our analysis of the transcripts focused on coding emoticons by type and frequency of occurrence. Each instance of emoticon use was initially coded based on our own interpretation of emoticons’ potential meaning in their particular surrounding texts. Findings revealed that the male participants displayed more emoticons than the females. Moreover, gendered differences were found in terms of the gender of the addressee: Both the males and females used significantly more emoticons when interacting with interlocutors from the opposite gender.


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