Friday, November 13, 2009

CFP: From Face to Facebook: performing (im)politeness in social media environments

Call for papers

From Face to Facebook: performing (im)politeness in social media environments

Panel session at the 5th International Symposium on Politeness, 30 June - 2
July 2010, Basel, Switzerland

Theresa Heyd (University of Pennsylvania),
Cornelius Puschmann (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf)

In its earliest days, politeness theory set out to identify “universals in
language use” (Brown and Levinson 1978). Such claims to universality were
later contested, in particular with regard to cultural variation (e.g.
Wierzbicka 1991): norms of appropriateness, concepts of face and other
sociopragmatic aspects are nowadays accepted to be (somewhat)
culture-specific. In the light of such ‘variationist’ tendencies, it may be
asked whether politeness and self-presentation are also medium- and
technology-specific. Are there new politeness paradigms in online
communication, especially in its most recent forms?

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr are
“technologies of the self” (Foucault) where people do things with words in a
very literal sense. Constructing a digital self via video, images and still
most prominently language (”meforming”; Naaman et al. 2009) and negotiating
it in exchanges with other users are central activities in social media
formats. While facework could previously be classified unambiguously in
terms of linguistic and non-linguistic actions, the digitally constructed
self also “acts” via language when symbolically engaging in interpersonal
activities such as liking, poking, friending, following, banning and muting.
These linguistic quasi-actions replace the means which are available offline
to indicate stance and manage impressions and therefore fulfill an important
function. In a larger sense, it appears that the concept of “face” itself
has taken on a new meaning in digital social media that is simultaneously
more encompassing and more important: establishing and negotiating an online
identity has become one of the central activities of Internet users.

We particularly invite contributions on the following issues:
* Constructing and maintaining face in social media
* Performative and metacommunicative acts in social media
* Consequences and implications of online self exposure: identity
management, identity safety, privacy vs. exposure
* Performing face in social media vs. Web 1.0 and pre-digital settings
* The mitigation of face in online/offline interactions.

This panel focuses on the related aspects of self-presentation and symbolic
actions as components of digital face management. We welcome contributions
addressing all forms of online communication; studies regarding more recent
social media are especially welcome. Both theory-building and data-driven
contributions are of interest.

Abstracts (500 words max.) should be submitted by December 1, 2009. Please
feel free to contact the panel organizers for more information:


Brown, Penelope and Stephen C. Levinson. 1978. Politeness. Some Universals
in Language Usage. Cambridge: CUP.

Foucault, Michel. 1988. “Technologies of the self.” In Luther H. Martin,
Huck Gutman and Patrick Hutton (eds) Technologies of the Self. Amherst:
University of Massachusetts Press. 16–49.

Naaman, Mor, Jeffrey Boase and Chi-Hui Lai. 2009. “Is it really about me?
Message content in social awareness streams.” CSCW 2010, February 6–10,
2010, Savannah, Georgia, USA. Available at

Wierzbicka, Anna. 1991. Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: The Semantics of Human
Interaction. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Watch ILLS 1: LOL Streaming Online!

To researchers in linguistics, computer-mediated communication, and
related fields:
This coming weekend, May 29-31, 2009, the Linguistics Student
Organization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is
proud to present Illinois Language and Linguistics Society 1: Language
Online. Through a partnership with ATLAS Digital Media, we are now
able to offer a live stream of the conference online at

Tune in this weekend to participate in this exciting new conference!
Online participants will have the opportunity to submit questions in
real time for the moderator to convey to the presenters.

Invited presentations:
*Alexandra Georgakopoulou, Kings College London
'Small stories as a paradigm for narrative analysis in online discourse'

*Richard Hallett, Northeastern Illinois University
'From Lithuanian identity construction to English-Chamorro
written codeswitching: Linguistic issues in tourism websites'

*Susan Herring, Indiana University Bloomington
'New directions in CMC research: CMCMC'

*Theresa Heyd, University of Texas-Dallas
'Genre theory meets folk pragmatics: tracking a genre label
through the ages'

*Randall Sadler, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
'Strange new worlds: Opportunities and cautions in virtual world research'

Please take a moment to have a look at our full program, available at
our website:

Thanks, and hope to see you online (or in person?) next weekend!
For more information, please don't hesitate to contact me:
mgarley2 [at], or my co-organizer, Benjamin Slade:
bslade - at -

Matt Garley
Ph.D. Student, Department of Linguistics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Monday, January 19, 2009

Shameless self-promotion

I have an article in the Journal of Business Communication's recent special issue on Meeting Talk:

"So What Shall We Talk About": Openings and Closings in Chat-Based Virtual Meetings
Kris M. Markman

Using the framework of conversation analysis, the author examines the structure of interaction in computer-mediated team meetings, focusing on the openings and closings of the team's four virtual meetings. The author describes how the medium, quasisynchronous chat (QSC), disrupts the temporal flow of conversation and makes beginning and ending these informally structured meetings difficult. The author finds that the team, as a result, evolved a two-stage process for both opening and closing the meetings, which allowed them to make consistent use of certain linguistic and conversational devices to mark possible transition points for openings and closings. The author discusses how these virtual meetings compare to face-to-face interactions and some possible implications for the use of QSC for virtual team meetings.
Share and enjoy!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Conference Announcement!

Hello everyone--I wanted to make sure the following was posted here as well as on LINGUIST List:

Please forward as appropriate:

The Linguistics Student Organization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is proud to announce ILLS 1: LOL (Illinois Language and Linguistics Society 1: Language On-Line), the first in a series of conferences on language and linguistics-related themes. ILLS 1 will be held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on the weekend of May 29-May 31, 2009.

ILLS welcomes the submission of general empirical and theoretical papers relevant to the field of linguistics and language sciences. Primary consideration will be given to submissions relevant to the field of computer-mediated communication, which is understood to include the multiple and diverse uses of language on the Internet, as well as similar technological modes of communication such as text messaging.

Current invited speakers: Alexandra Georgakopoulou (King's College London), Ylva Hård af Segerstad (IT University of Göteborg), Susan Herring (Indiana University), John Paolillo (Indiana University), Randall Sadler (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Conference organizers:
Matt Garley (UIUC)
Benjamin Slade (UIUC)

Conference website (deadline, abstract guidelines, etc.)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

OMG! Like, IMers totally use 'like'!

So, a professor sent the department some sort of Discovery report about 'languages bursting forth', and in 'related articles', I noticed this:

I'll see if I can find the actual research this story's about, but for the time being, it looks pretty basic (and more or less unsurprising.)
So, who wants their corpus? I know I do!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Having browsed the abstract submissions to SALSA this year, I see that we're pretty impoverished wrt sociocmc submissions. Seeing as how I'm chairing it this year, I was hoping that we'd be a little better represented. The deadline has passed, but if you're still interested, shoot me an email (joshiorio [-AT-] and we can work something out. The conference provides housing, transportation to the venue (and to the parties), and a couple meals... AND it only costs about 30 bucks.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Hi All,

I'm new to this blog, but I wanted to contribute some findings. I wrote a squib about the role of leet in CoPs, in light of David Heineman's paper Gleaning Meaning from Leetspeak that was presented at the 2004 NCA convention in Chicago. If I knew how to upload it, I would as a resource. I don't know how to do that...

First, I was surprised that there are so few articles addressing the use of blogs and the CoPs that work within them. But I was even more surprised that this (Heineman) paper was the only thing close to scholarly research on leetspeak. If you know of anything else, let me know.

Heineman's article was incredibly difficult to find. Why? The title was written in leet. Here's the link to the paper (try finding it without this link first for fun):

Basically, this article addressed directly how "leetspeak" merits discussion in the field and how it is constantly changing to maintain shifts in particular identities. Just thought I'd share the link to this paper, since it was a real pain to track down...Let me know what you think, and I'd be glad to share my paper with anyone interested.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Leetspeak and the ire of linguists

[crossposted at PC]

Mark Liberman's already covered it (in fact: hat tip), but there is this WSJ article about leetspeak, focusing on how to pronounce some internet-emergent words/spellings/phrases. Nothing's really surprising, except when I got to this sentence I nearly snarfed my coffee:
The words' growing offline popularity has stoked the ire of linguists, parents and others who denounce them as part of a broader debasement of the English language.

Ack! Mark doesn't mention this (hopefully) misguided attribution. Thankfully someone thought to ask someone who studies the most treasured English language user of all time what Shakespeare would think of all this, and this puts our minds at ease:
Gail Kern Paster, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., has reason to believe that a certain English poet and playwright would cheer the latest linguistic leap. Just as the rise of the printed word and the theater spurred many new expressions during Shakespeare's time, the computer revolution, she notes, has necessitated its own vocabulary -- like "logging in" and "Web site."

"The issue of correctness didn't bother him," says Ms. Paster. "He loved to play with language." As for leet, "He would say, 'Bring it on,' absolutely."

If it's good enough for Shakespeare... The author also mentions some work on leet by Katherine Blashki, a new media studies professor in Australia. I am glad to hear of her work because I hadn't before, but check out how it's discussed:
Her subsequent, semester-long research on the subject found their use of leetspeak stemmed partly from wanting to find faster ways to express themselves online. As with other forms of jargon, it also enhanced a sense of belonging to a community, she says.

"It's ultimately about creating a secret language that can differentiate them from others, like parents," says Ms. Blashki. "That's part of being a teenager."

She presented her work at a conference in Spain and has since written nearly a dozen research papers on the topic. She admits she hasn't received much grant funding for her work. "My peers were aghast," she says.

I am confused about why they were aghast - aren't they media studies people? I think the author is trying to suggest that **even the uber-liberal relativistic academics are freaked out by leet**. And I honestly doubt that's the case - though if it is, it would be something good for me to learn now. I don't know about the media studies field, but in linguistics, people might be aghast at such study just because it's looking at writing and not speaking, and therefore studying something that lots of people still don't see as worthwhile to study. But it's not because they think that leet is awful or annoying or a sign of the downfall of society or language. No no.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

omg! yahoo

omg! wtf?

SocioCMC Wiki!

Hi all,

I just started a wiki over at wetpaint for my (and your?) purposes: it's here. I have been meaning for forever to update my now-very-outdated CMC Bibliography page, but I think the best way to maintain something like this (and be driven to update it on a somewhat regular basis) is to have a collaborative, easily-editable format, which a wiki (I think, but we'll see) provides.

I am hoping to make it a place where we can maintain not only bibliographies, but links to relevant blogs, the websites of people who are doing relevant work, maybe stuff like book reviews?, and popular press articles and whatnot. Basically I always want to have an aggregate of all of this information but have never been un-lazy enough to make it happen. Maybe with other people's help it

So, if you feel like adding some content, please do so! And suggestions on the way pages are categorized and wahtnot are totally welcome - I just added some content-less pages to get stuff started, but it'll be a work in progress.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Monday, July 02, 2007

Are my online friends for real?

Hey, an interesting article about Facebook:


Saturday, May 12, 2007

on lolcatz.

There's an interesting discussion of language and lolcatz waiting to happen on the linguistic anthropology blog, as reported right on icanhascheezburger, as mentioned on language log.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

omg inbd!

i love when companies appropriate cmc-lects in their advertisements-

the positioning of the girl's speech as a second language is also cute.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The virtues of chatting

There is a most interesting post up at Masters of Media about the virtues of online (text-based) communication. It's not a direct comparison of online and F2F, but it's explicitly a "defense" of online ways of interacting. I leave it to your reading enjoyment, 'cause it's finals and I got papers to write.

I will note that the post immediately made me think of the article "Internet and face-to-face communication: Not functional alternatives." (Flaherty, L.M., Pearce, K.J., & Rubin, R.B. (1998), Communication Quarterly 46 (3), 250-268) I don't know why, but this title has always stuck with me as emblematic of CMC research.

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