Mobile devices have changed the way we interact with the world. It’s now normal behavior to take selfies or live Tweet an event, but can a mobile device really be an extension of one’s self? A recent study published in the Journal of Communication by researchers at Goldsmiths, Bowdoin College and the University of Maine found that tweets from mobile devices are more likely to employ egocentric language as opposed to non-mobile device Tweets.
The researchers conducted an analysis of tweets to see if presentations of self are more likely to be more egocentric, negative/positive, gendered or communal based on whether users were on a mobile device or using a web based platform.
The researchers found that mobile tweets are not only more egocentric in language than any other group, but that the ratio of egocentric to non-egocentric tweets is consistently greater for mobile tweets than from non-mobile sources. They also did not find that mobile tweets were particularly gendered. Regardless of platform, tweets tended to employ words traditionally associated as masculine.
Previous studies have linked activities performed face-to-face (e.g. eating dinner) to tweets from a particular source. And there has been research that aims to classify tweets as belonging to a particular sentiment by using word lists. This is one of the first studies to take a look at how mobile versus non-mobile plays a part in the language used on social media.
(Do We Tweet Differently From Our Mobile Devices? A Study of Language Differences on Mobile and Web-Based Twitter Platforms, by Dhiraj Murthy, Sawyer Bowman, Alexander J. Gross, and Marisa McGarry; Journal of Communication, doi:10.1111/jcom.12176)