Gender differences in style and usage of SMS as discussed in an on-line chat forum

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Power, M. & Horstmanshof, L. (2006) Gender differences in style and usage of SMS as discussed in an on-line chat forum. Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, Adelaide.

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Copyright ©ANZCA & University of Adelaide, 2006.


his paper summarises data on attitudes and use of SMS from an on-line interactive group session with 150 students who had read an academic paper and a magazine article on SMS and who were located in five separate classrooms equipped with Blackboard chat. After each question set by the authors, thirty students in each classroom posted individual responses in an instant message format to their own classroom forum viewed on their individual screens. At the end of two to five minutes a student representative in each room summarised the general trends of discussion in that room. These were then posted to all 5 rooms. With these responses in view, the authors constructed further questions designed to explore knowledge, behaviours and attitudes towards SMS in the groups. Analysis of transcripts showed that there was a gender divide in the way that both men and women viewed the way that the other sex constructed messages. In this interactive method, through comparison with other’s views, subjects became aware of how their own behaviours using this technology affected and influenced receivers. In addition, rules for the use of SMS were proposed, discussed and refined. This paper reports on the development of new research techniques in gathering qualitative data from a large number of subjects simultaneously.

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