textingDeborah Tannen: The Medium is the Metamessage


Bateson – coined term Metacommunication: “the subject of discourse is the relationship between the speakers”

The metamessage, according to Tannen, is implicit, and indicates how the  ‘speaker’ intends the message.

Same statements about the politeness of different conversational styles apply to text messages as to oral communication – age difference regarding the acceptance of texting in company of someone with whom one is communicating face-to-face.

Brevity of interruptions are part of the judgement of rudeness in high-involvement style and young-texters style.

Markers of Enthusiasm and Intensity

Gender difference in use of doubled punctuation marks and duplicated vowels. The ‘unmarked’ use is to show enthusiasm this way.

Brevity is cold – or is it just a masculine style?

Brevity may be indirect; can be the motivation for texting rather than telephoning. Thus, the medium is a metamessage – telephoning can either be rude as an interruption or showing enthusiasm as in the need to communicate more fluidly.

Ambiguity of sending just a link.

Buzzfeed article on the “True Meaning” of emojis

Pacing & Pausing

Length  of time between message and response is a metamessage.

A dead battery can imply unintended meaning!

Texting_cf0f4f_2756352Multiple Media – communicating the same message more than once

textingMedium Choice – Facebook is more public – being broken up or ‘Facebook official’ is for a different audience than text or other medium messages.

If you’re using FB do you send a private message or post on the person’s wall?

Liabilities of the technology – signature as unintended message

Moral Panic at Introduction of New Media

Writing; the printing press, texting… new media discourse isn’t that unique when compared to previous means of communication.

What are your observations on the use of texting and social media in the communication patterns of your peers?