PATTERNS OF COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION: YOUTH, IDENTITY AND MOBILE DEVICES
The widespread adoption of CMC in the context of education and research has given rise to a new sub-culture in which patterns of communication, expectations of social communication exchanges, and language formality have changed. In this paper, we describe a diary-log study of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) usage amongst youth in Arabic-Speaking populations. This qualitative study examined diary logs of CMC patterns of 61 youth participants, ages ranging between 14 to 24 years. Analysis involved trend analysis of the type of messages exchanged, size and timing of the messages, emotional expressions in CMC exchanges amongst youth, and the language transformations that are relevant to the design of interactions in CMC (e.g. introduction of Latin characters in the native Arabic language CMC due to constraints in mobile devices’ interfaces), and the CMC modes which involved attachments such as images, media or photos. Three variables were examined in the logs; gender, time of logging and linguistic patterns. Findings of this study showed that gender variations were not prevalent in CMC usage in the context of native Arabic-speaking youth. Results also suggest that patterns of CMC amongst youth vary according to the day of the week as well as the time of day. Prevalence of language transformations in Arabic CMC was also examined across genders and variations were found in the adoption of formal and colloquial CMC in Arabic. Implications for the design of CMC in the context of Education and Research will be discussed.