twitter and cmc


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twitter and cmc

  1. 1. INTRODUCTIONSocial network is a mechanism for mediating distal interaction among people which allowspeople to follow the lives of friends, acquaintances and families and the number of people onsocial networks. One of the examples of social networks is Twitter. Twitter is the firstmicroblogging systems that made its first appearance in 2006. Microblogging systems provide alight-weight, easy form of communication that enables users to broadcast and share informationabout their current activities, thought, opinions and status. Twitter users can stay in touch andkeep up with friends regardless of where they are and what they are doing. People update theirstatus or known as tweets, with a maximum of 140-characters, in the form of either spoken orwritten. Spoken form differs from written form in several ways. The first one would be, spokenform is less formal than written form where language conventions are broken such as beginningsentences with but. Spoken form is much more dynamic and immediate, therefore precision isnot given much attention. In addition, spoken form is more communicative where tone, intentionand meaning. On the other hand, written form gives extra attention on grammar and languageconventions. Furthermore, written form present ideas in a precise, well-ordered and presented ina more sophisticated way. This shows that written form is more articulate and sophisticated thanspoken language. The objectives of this study are to identify the differences between spoken and writtenlanguage by analyzing the corpus available and to study the factors that might lead to such use inlanguage. In other words, the corpus which is the compilations of the twitter will be analyzed interms of its use either in written form or in spoken form. Some of the factors that lead to the usedof those languages in the corpus will be discussed in details.
  2. 2. ANALYSISFrom the corpus that has been analyzed, it is found that there are some differences between thespoken and written language used by the respondents. For example, in spoken language, most ofthe respondents are among artist/public figure, women, and men. An example of spokenlanguage produced by an artist can be seen from the extracted line “I just saw the most beautifulyoung girl. About 5 years old. Lovely hair, lovely smile, lovely face. A stunning girl. She hasalbinism” and “With tears I drive home... Good to do a little or a whole lot of reflection. Will bebusy today... Take care everyone!” Artists tend to use spoken language in order for them toattract attention from their audiences and also to share their opinions or tips. It is because, mostof these artists’ followers are their own fans, so it is very important for them to keep their tweetsinteresting and entertaining to their audiences. Meanwhile, an example of spoken language bywomen can be seen through this line “Soup too salty? Instead of adding more liquid, add rawcut potatoes, Itll absorb the salt. Discard the potatoes...” and “Left leg needs a massage :( Aching :( ”. Women in this case are more emotional, they prefer to use a lot of emoticons.Women tend to share their true feelings on twitter. Another example of spoken languageproduced by men can be seen through these two examples of sentences “I will be offline for therest of the day doing some hardcore packing. Take care yall! May peace be upon you~” and“Been reading all tweets...thank u thank u so much for all ur wonderful wishes!!! Sending ourlove to all out there.. :)”. As for men, they use spoken language to show their state ofappreciation. Other than the spoken language, status updates or tweets by the users can also be found inthe written form. This denotes that the tweets do not contain any spoken language criteria such asemoticons or punctuation marks. Written-form tweets are usually produced to give advice or
  3. 3. motivation usually in the form of quotes. An example can be extracted from the corpus availablewhere person A tweets “Knocking others success doesnt make you more successful. It justmakes you a hater” or Person B “It’s better if someone doesnt recognize your existence ratherthan a person that knows you exist and yet gives you no worth.” The language used here can becategorized as a written language as it is very much formal, usually exist in books or even if it isused in a verbal-communication, people use it as or with reference. Especially users who tweetquotes, these are established words where it is printed again and again in different sources thus ithas authority on its own. When one uses this in a communication, it is known that the words arenot a product of the speaker but a quote in itself. Therefore if twitter users update their status byusing quotes or words of wisdom, it is categorized as a written-form of tweet. It is not just formalbut more articulate and sophisticated. This idea however, does not apply to all the quote-tweets of the users because there aresome users who produce their own sayings. With the intention of giving advice, motivation orwords of wisdom, it is not possible that users can produce their own. An example of this is whenPerson C tweets, “Twitter is a river that we share. It flows us forward together. Dont pollute itwith hatred, disrespect and rudeness.” This is a piece of advice given by a user who wishes thatall Twitter users would not abuse the real usage and intention of Twitter. This advice can becategorized as a written-formed tweet as it is formal and very much sophisticated in its wordsand structure.LITERATURE REVIEWHuberman, Romero and Wu through their article “Social Networks That Matter: Twitter underthe Microscope” discuss the issue of how relevant is a list of “friends” is to members of the
  4. 4. network. It is mentioned in the study that scholars, advertisers and political activist see massiveonline social networks as a representation of social interactions that can be used to study thepropagation of ideas, social bond dynamics and viral marketing. The dataset used in this studycontains 309,740 users with average posts of 255, 85 followers and 80 followees. Out of thenumber of users, 211,024 posted at least twice and they are under the category of active users.Twitter post or known can be categorized into direct and indirect posts. The findings show that25.4% of the posts are direct which means they are directed to friends, mostly. The findings alsoshow that users who received attention from many people and users who have more followerstend to be more active in posting their tweets. This shows that the number of friends is the driverof Twitter user’s activity. The article “Why We Twitter: An Analysis of A Microblogging Community” by Java,Song, Finin and Tseng focused their study on microblogging phenomena, particularly Twitter.As a start, they define microblogging as a new form of commucation where users describe theircurrent status in short posts. Microblogging mainly acts as a medium to talk about daily activitiesand to seek or share information. Furthermore, microblogging systems provide a light-weight,easy form of communication that enables users to broadcast and share information about theircurrent activities, thoughts, opinions and status. Microblogging intentions varied from dailychatter, conversations, sharing information to reporting news. The authors monitor the publictimeline of their samples for two months which result in 1,348,543 posts from 76,117 users.These users shared intentions of information sharing, information seeking and friendship-wiserelationship. In the article “Twitter: Expressions of the Whole Self - An Investigation into UserAppropriation of a Web-based Communications Platform” written by Edward Mischaud
  5. 5. discusses the use of Twitter, its features and the people who uses it. As defined by Mischaud,Twitter is a web-based communications platform combining Instant Messaging and SMS thatenables subscribers to its service to send short ‘status updates’ to other people. In this article,Mischaud seeks to investigate the extent to which users of Twitter responds to the ‘guiding’question ‘What are you doing?’. From this question it is possible to find out whether users ofTwitter goes beyond this particular question, by deviating to other ‘updates’ or vice versa. Byanalysing the results obtained, Mischaund concluded that the majority of Twitter users observedare appropriating the platform beyond “What are you doing?”. This article also discusses aboutthe society’s role in shaping technology and the influence a technology’s design may have onhow it is used. This research of Mischaud contributes in the understanding of the spoken andwritten language of the Twitter users. A line can be drawn between the two by applyingMischaud’s method of study.CONCLUSIONThrough the analysis, it can be seen that spoken form of tweets are mainly determined throughthe use of emoticons and punctuation marks. This is due to the fact that emoticons andpunctuation marks replace tone, body language and intention in spoken language. The purposefor the use of spoken form in tweets are mainly to share feelings, thoughts and information, toshow emotions as well as to share tips. The tendency to use spoken form could be because theTwitter user wants to address people from different background and the tweets carries less-serious tone. On the other hand, written form of tweets are seen to be influenced by the intentionof the Twitter user and the intended meaning. As written form carries a more serious tone, tweetsof written form are largely dedicated to the purpose of giving advice, words of wisdoms and tomotivate.
  6. 6. BIBLIOGRAPHYHuberman B. A., Romero D. M., Wu F. (2004). Social Networks That Matter: Twitter UnderThe Microscope. Retrieved on 11 February 2011 from M. Twitter: Expressions of the Whole Self – An Investigation into User Appropriationin a web-based communications platform. Retrieved on 12 February 2011 from A., Song X., Finin, T., Tseng B. (2007). Why We Twitter: An Analysis of a MicrobloggingCommunity. Advances in Web Mining and Web Usage Analysis. Retrieved on 4 February 2011from