Tuesday, May 31, 2011

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Welcome!  Everyone seems to always have their phone glued to their hand...doing what? Texting! Whether you are walking to class, sometimes sitting in class, or even at dinner with friends, it's happening 24/7.  With texting becoming an increasingly popular, I researched how texting is used for communication. I compared texting, phone, and face-to-face communication in terms of generational differences. I uncovered how young people define appropriate use of each of these forms of communication for different situations.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I began my analysis by asking: "How often do you communicate with your friends through the following:" As we see below, 50% of respondents said that they use face to face communication very often to communicate with their friends. By contrast, 37.8% of respondents said that they use text messaging to communicate with their friends. Finally, 69.7% of respondents said that they use phone calls often to communicate with their friends. From this we see that in this situation, text messaging is the least preferred way of communication.

I then asked “How often do you communicate with your parents
using the following:” Here we see that 48.8% of respondents said that they
rarely use face to face communication to talk to their parents. By contrast, 38%
of respondents said that they often use text messaging to communicate with
their  parents. Finally, 57.1% of
respondents said that they use phone calls very often as a means of
communicating with their parents. One way to explain this is that my sample was a bias sample because most of my facebook friends, which are the only ones that would have access to the survey, are college students therefore this may help give insight as to why face to face communication is such a low percentage in this case, and phone calls is the highest response.

Next, I asked "Which of the following would you be most likely to use to convey bad news?"  Here we see that 72% responded that they would rather tell the person face to face.  By contrast, 16.1% said a phone call would be more appropriate.  Finally, a mere 11.8% said that text messaging would be a good way to inform a person about bad news.  When asked the open ended question of "Why or why not?" most of the respondents in my sample answered that "If you care about the person you need to be there to console them."  Others said that it's "better to see their honest expression and if they need support."  Finally, some respondents said that it's "better to do it face to face rather than text because it's more personal"

Then, I asked the question, "Which of the following would you be most likely to use in order to tell someone about good news?"  48.4% of survey takers said that face to face would be a more appropriate form of communication in telling someone about good news.  In contrast, 19.4% said that text messaging would be the way to communication in this situation.  Finally, 32.3% said phone calls would be much more suitable for this scenario.  When asked "Why or why not?" respondents said that phone calls would be a preferred way of communication because "I'm so excited I might not be able to wait!"  While others said that face to face is more desirable in order "to see their honest expression" and "to share in the excitement."

Finally, I asked "Which of the following would you be most likely to use when asking someone to run an errand for you? (a favor, babysit, etc.)"  5.4% of respondents said that they would use face to face communication.  In contrast, 62.4% said that they would just send them a text message.  Lastly, 32.3% said that they would use a phone call as a means of asking for a favor.  From this, we can see that text messaging is the most popular form of communication for casual questions.  When asked "Why or why not?" most respondents said "It's quick and easy." Others said it's the "fastest way to get an answer" and "it's easy, convenient, and casual."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Multimedia Links




Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Annotated Bibliography

Charlton, Tony, and Charlotte Panting. "Mobile telephone ownership and usage among 10- and 11-year-olds ." Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties7.3 (2002): 152-163. Web. 27 May 2011. <http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a751286046>.
This article was unique within my findings because Charlton and Panting concluded that kids of ages 10 and 11 were actually found to be socially excluded if they did not own a cellphone. Although most of these students used their cellphones to contact their parents in case of any trouble or emergency, they still reported to be thought less if they in fact did not own a mobile phone.

Dolliver, Mark. "The Age of Teen Texting." MediaWeek 20.17 (2010): 22-22. Web. 13 Apr 2011.

The article investigates the public opinion of teenagers in the U.S. on cell phone use.  The poll results showed that 75% of respondents said they owned cell phones.  Most teens said that they used text messaging a lot more frequently than actually phone calls.  Many also said that they used their cell phones to keep in contact with their parents daily.

Grinter, Rebecca. "Wan2tlk?." (2003): n. pag. Web. 27 May 2011. <http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=642611.642688>.
In this publication, Grinter explores the idea of teens texting and how it is hurting their grammer skills, as they are shortening everything when texting (notice the title).  The study concluded that although teens are texting frequently, usually it's with fewer people than if they were to be speaking face to face.

Harper, Richard. "From teenage life to victorian morals and back: Technological change and teenage life."Knowledge, Technology & Policy 19.1  Web. 26 May 2011. <http://www.springerlink.com/content/7ghxu0efmkhjggwg/>.

In this article, Harper argues that mobile phones and texting are eliminating the possibility of teens thinking for themselves or having to figure out things on their own.  Text messaging now offers that instant gratification.  Harper gives the following example-- before, teens would have to wonder what their friends are doing or where they are.  Now with texting and all of this new media, they don't have to worry about that, they virtually have all the information at their fingertips.  Overall, the author states that teenagers are now leading lives completely different to those lived by teens in previous generations.

Lenhart, Amanda, and Mary Madden. "Teens and Technology: Youth are leading the transition to a fully wired and mobile nation." Mendeley (2006): n. pag. Web. 27 May 2011. <http://www.mendeley.com/research/teens-and-technology-youth-are-leading-the-transition-to-a-fully-wired-and-mobile-nation-1/?mrr_wp=0.1>.
This article explores teens' use of the internet and mobile devices and how that is affecting them. Going a little bit deeper, the authors explain the correlation between teens' use of the internet and their use of cellphones for text messaging.  Teens who are using their phones to text are also using their phones to look up information on the internet.

Pierce, Tamyra. "Social Anxiety and Technology: Face-to-face Communication Versus Technological Communication Among Teens." Computers in Human Behavior 25.6 (2009): 1367-72. Web. 13 Apr 2011.
This study goes into how social anxiety plays a huge role in influencing teens on how they communicate with each other through texting, instant messaging, and online social sites such as Facebook.  The study had 280 high school participants.  This study also concluded that females used social media to communicate more than males did.  Ultimately there is a positive relationship between social anxiety about face to face communication and talking to others through mediums such as Facebook.

Smithfield, . "Put the Phone Away." Valley Breeze & Observer (2011):Web. 13 Apr 2011.
In this article, the author discusses the absence of “cell phone manners” among children/teens. In one particular instance, the author talks about using a cell phone during dinner and recalls an instance when a waiter had to wait until someone finished their text in order to be able to take the person’s order.  This article would be useful to my research because it demonstrates how far people go to talk on their cell phones—even if it means completely neglecting a social situation such as a dinner with family and friends.

Srivastava, L.. "Mobile phones and the evolution of social behaviour" Behaviour & Information Technology 24.2 (2005). 14 Apr. 2011
< http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/01449290512331321910 >
This article explains the shift of the cell phone from a technological tool to a social object.  The author goes on the explain the human and social effects of the cell phone and its overall effect on society.  The main argument of the piece is that the invention of the cell phone has had a big impact on social interaction and human identity.  I believe this would be great for my research in order to back up my working hypothesis.

Tapscott, Dan. "Grown Up Digital." Economist (2009): Web. 26 May 2011. <http://www1.economist.com/media/pdf/grown-up-digital-tapscott-e.pdf>.
I thought this article could be useful to my research because it offers a counter argument to what the rest of my articles have concluded.  Tapscott presents the argument that through social media like texting and social networking, this new generation has actually become more social. This new generation, which Tapscott refers to as "Net Geners" have gotten so used to constant and quick, fast-paced communication and do not want to go back anytime soon.  The "Net Geners" are very much shed in a positive light, Tapscott even goes so far as to say that they will be changing the world due to the knowledge they have with the fast-paced, constantly changing technology.

Data, Methods, and Ethics


I created a survey on Surveymonkey.com of ten questions and created an event on Facebook in order to ensure that I would get people to answer my survey.  The survey consists of ten questions.  


In order to respect time constraints that might make people less likely to participate, I limited the survey to 10 questions. I mixed in multiple choice and open-ended questions in order to get a variety of responses and information for my research.  

I controlled for age by starting the age bracket at 18 years old. This allowed me to target college age students because they are most likely to use texting.

Regarding ethics, in using this age range, I excluded minors and therefore did not need to get parental consent for those who are underage.  I also respected the participants anonymity by not mentioning names and not quoting them directly.  

I administered the survey up on Facebook for one week from May 9th to May 16th. During this time, 93 people took the survey.  I periodically checked the number of survey respondents in order to ensure that the survey was open and functioning at all times. 

Population Overview

  • My sample is a convenient non-representative sample as I posted my survey on Facebook and 87% of responses were submitted by females, while 13% of responses came from males.  This shows that I have an non-representative sample of mostly females. This question was optional to respondents, one person skipped this question.  

I wanted to explore whether this current generation is using texting, phone, and f2f communication differently than older individuals.  As you can see most of the respondents fell between the ages of 18 and 22.  This question was optional as well, and one person skipped this question also.

Conclusions and Reflection

When undertaking this project I hypothesized that people are beginning to let go of their social skills because of the new texting phenomenon.  By exploring this topic through survey and research, I would say I disproved my hypothesis.  This study reveals that some people do choose texting over face to face communication; however in some situations most participants realized that face to face is very crucial in some instances. For example, when telling someone bad news, most respondents answered that they would prefer to wait and tell someone in person rather than through text or phone call because they want to be there to console the person.  From this, we can see that face to face interaction has not died out.  There are some instances where it is crucial.

In my annotated bibliography, I was surprised to see that such a great amount of research has been done on the topic of social skills diminishing due to texting.  My study confirms these findings in the literature.   By contrast to these authors, I found in one of the articles, that the lack of having a cellphone and being able to text has caused some kids to be excluded from their group of friends.  Charlton argues that the lack of a cellphone in 10 and 11 year olds has become detrimental to their social lives.  I thought this was really interesting because it argues for the complete opposite of the rest of my research.  Where as the norm way of thinking says that people are losing their social skills due to cellphones and texting, this research concludes that the cellphone is what creates the social aspect of these 10 and 11 year olds' lives.  It says a lot about how social media makes up a big part of our lives, especially at such a young age, in this case.

In conducting this research, I examined the role cellphone usage and text messaging in my own life.  I do agree with most of the survey participants when they say that face to face communication is ideal in conveying bad news and/or good news.  In some instances though for example, when asking a simple question, or for a favor, text messaging is quicker and more convenient, even more so when you are in a setting where you can't exactly have a full fledged conversation.

 Texting is becoming increasingly popular because of it's convenience and speed, especially in situations when you just want to ask a quick question or favor.  However, the majority of respondents said they would rather speak to someone face to face when conveying bad news and good news. From this, I learned that social skills are not completely fading directly due to text messaging, rather people now have options as to how they communicate with others.