Thoughts and idiosyncrasies of Darcie Tanner

Linguistic and Perception Changes Through the Increase in Messaging


We all know that mobile is here and rising to its peak (or is it?) but that is for another time and place. The question I am posing here is with regards to the increase in use of texting and messaging apps such as Whats App, BBM and Facebook Messenger.

With the youth rarely speaking on the phone now days, but using these types of platforms, how many of their messages are misinterpreted by the receiver?

We have all experienced how easy it is to read a text, email or IM in the wrong tone of voice and either take offence, react in the wrong manner or follow the wrong instructions.

Do those who message more than speak automatically understand one another in the same way since they’ve both evolved on these platforms together, therefore there is a new language or way to write that they understand with a greater success than say, if they were messaging with a parent? As they’ve grown up with it, maybe they don’t know any other way?

This isn’t a new phenomenon. Even before emails, handwritten letters have been written to loved ones/colleagues and misinterpreted for decades; I guess the difference here would be the amount of messages that are sent in a day versus letters arriving years ago and hence the increase potentially in miscommunication.

Or maybe it’s that we’re all adjusting. Maybe the use of emoticons makes everything more understandable. I know myself, I add a smilie if I think there is even a chance of a message being misread. Interestingly, on this note, Wired published an article this past week stating: The Human Brain Now Reacts to Emoticons Like Real Faces.

What an amazing area to be studying at the moment. I also have a theory about the way people do their own emoticons, whether there is a reason some may do a right smilie and some may do a left and so on. Maybe it’s time to go back and do my Masters in Digital Psychology…


A Texan Lassie. Digital Media Geek.

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