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

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Power, MR & Horstmanshof, L 2006, 'Gender differences in style and usage in SMS as discussed in an on-line chat forum', in C Anyanwu (ed.), Empowerment, creativity and innovation: challenging media and communication in the 21st century: Australian & New Zealand Communication Association International Conference, Adelaide, SA, 4-7 July, Australia and New Zealand Communication Association and the University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA. ISBN: 0863968376


This 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.