The necessity to study language use in computer-mediated communication (CMC) appears to be of common interest, as online communication is ubiquitous and raises a series of ethical, sociological, technological and technoscientific issues among the general public. The importance of linguistic studies on CMC is acknowledged beyond the researcher community, for example in forensic science, as evidence can be found online and traced back to its author. In a South Park episode (“Fort Collins”, episode 6 season 20), a school girl performs “emoji analysis” to get information on the author of troll messages. Using the distribution of emojis, she concludes that this person cannot be the suspected primary school student but has to be an adult. Although the background story seems somehow far-fatched, as often with South Park, the logic of the analysis is sound.
General impressions on research trends
I recently went to a workshop on computer-mediated communication and social media. I am impressed by the preponderant role of Twitter data, in the focus of a significant number of researchers. This is a open field, with still much to do research on: there seems to be no clear or widely acknowledged methodology and there are diverging approaches concerning …more ...