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

Document Type: Research Article

Authors

Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz

Abstract

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.

Keywords


Adrianson, L. (2001). Gender and computer-mediated communication: Group process in problem solving. Computer in Human Behavior, 17, 71-94.

Antonijevic, S. (2005). Expressing emotions online: An analysis of visual aspects of emoticons. Paper presented at International Communication Association Annual Conference, New York.

Baron, N. S. (2004). See you online: Gender issues in college student use of Instant Messaging. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 23, 397-423.

Ben-Ze’ev, A. (2004). Love online: Emotions on the Internet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cameron, D. (1992). Feminism and linguistic theory. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Coates, J. (1993). Women, men, and language: A sociolinguistic account of gender differences in language. London: Longman.

Crystal, D. (2001). Language and the Internet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Derks, D., Bos, A., & von Grmbkow, J. (2007). Emoticons and social interaction on the Internet:   The importance     of social context. Computers in Human Behavior, 23, 842-849.

Eisenchlas, S. A. (2012). Gendered discursive practices online. Journal of Pragmatics, 44, 335-345.

Goodwin, Ch. (1986). Gestures as a resource for the organization of mutual orientation. Semiotica, 62, 29-49.

Graddol, D., & Swann, J. (1989). Gender voices. Oxford: Blackwell.

Gurak, L. J. (2001). Cyberliteracy: Navigating the Internet with awareness. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Harp, D., & Tremayne, M. (2006). The gendered blogosphere: Examining inequality using network and feminist theory. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 82, 247-264.

Herring, S. C. (1993). Gender and democracy in computer-mediated communication. Electronic Journal of        Communication, 3(2). Retrieved December 25, 2013, from the World Wide Web: http://www.cios.org/www/ejc/ v3n293.htm

Herring, S. C. (1994). Politeness in computer culture: Why women thank and men flame. In M. Bucholtz, A. Liang, L. Sutton, & C. Hines (Eds.), Cultural performances: Proceedings of the third Berkeley women and language conference (pp. 278-94). Berkeley: Berkeley Women and Language Group.

Herring, S. C. (2000). Gender differences in CMC: Findings and implications. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Journal, 18(1). Retrieved December 24, 2014, from the World Wide Web: http://cpsr.org/issues/womenintech/herring/

Herring, S. C. (2004). Computer-mediated communication and woman’s place. In R. T. Lakoff (Ed.), Language and woman’s place: Text and commentaries (pp. 216-222). New York: Oxford University Press.

Hinds, P. J., & Bailey, D. (2003). Out of sight, out of sync: Understanding conflict in distributed teams.          Organization Science, 14(6), 615-632.

Huffaker, D., & Calvert, S. L. (2005). Gender identity and language use in teenage blogs. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(2). Retrieved January 3, 2014, from the World Wide Web: http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol10/ issue12/ huffaker.html

Kim, D., Frank, M. G., & Kim, S. T. (2014). Emotional display behavior in different forms of computer mediated        communication. Computers in Human Behavior, 30, 222-229.

Krohn, F. B. (2004). A generational approach to using emoticons as nonverbal communication. Journal of Technical        Writing and Communication, 34(4), 321-328.

Lee, C. (2003). How does instant messaging affect interaction between the genders? In The mercury project for instant messaging studies at Stanford University. Retrieved December 25, 2013, from the World Wide Web: http://stanford.edu/class/pwr3-25/group2/projects/lee.html

Lewis, C., & Fabos, B. (2005). Instant messaging, literacies and social identities. Reading Research Quarterly, 40(4), 70-501.

Province, R. Spencer, R., & Mandell, D. (2007). Emotional expression online: Emoticons punctuate Website text messages. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26, 299-307.

Putnam, L. L. (2001). Distance teamwork: The realities of working with virtual colleagues. Online, 25(2), 54-58.

Rodino, M. (1997). Breaking out of binaries: Reconceptualizing gender and its relationship to language in computer-mediated communication. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication Quarterly, 3. Retrieved December 25, 2013, from the World Wide Web: http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol3/issue3/rod ino.html

Selfe, C. L., & Meyer, P. (1991). Testing claims for online conferences. Written Communication, 8, 163-192.

Spears, R., & Lea, M. (1994). Panacea or panopticon? The hidden power in computer-mediated communication. Communication Research, 21, 427-459.

West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1983). Small insults: A study of interruptions in cross-sex conversations between unacquainted persons. In B. Thorne, C. K. Ramarae, & N. Henley (Eds.), Language, gender, and society (pp. 102-117). Cambridge: Newbury House.

Witmer, D. F., & Katzman, S. L. (1997). Online smiles: Does gender make a difference in the use of graphic accents? Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 2(4). Retrieved January 10, 2014, from the World Wide Web: http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol2/issue4/witmar1.html