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The social shaping of text messaging in North American youth culture

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The social shaping of text messaging in North American youth culture

Pitfield, Kate (2004) The social shaping of text messaging in North American youth culture. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

At a time when technological communication devices are rapidly inundating North America it is important to consider not just the impact these technologies have on society, but the influence that society has on defining the uses and role played by these technologies. This thesis is a case study of one such communication technology, called Short Messaging Service (SMS). Introduced in Finland, in 1991, this technology was built into mobile phones and was intended for engineers to communicate with each other. However, the technologically savvy youth of, first, Asia and Europe, and now North America, have been quick to adopt this technology as a primary means of exchanging information and maintaining social ties. This thesis investigates the relationship between the development of SMS technology in North American youth culture and the role played by the social distinctions of this cultural terrain. Relying on the social shaping of technology perspective, it argues that the diffusion of SMS into North American youth culture has been guided in response to three distinct yet related spheres suggested by Hughie Mackay and Gareth Gillespie. They are: conception, invention, development and design; marketing; and, appropriation by users. Drawing from this framework, this analysis first considers the initial diffusion of SMS in Asia and Europe and suggests reasons for its less popular development in the US. Secondly, it highlights specific marketing techniques used in the US to encourage the use of SMS amongst youth consumers. Finally, it explores the youth appropriation of SMS and development of a text-based language. Throughout, this thesis considers the role of the powerful elite and youth consumer/user in defining novel technologies like SMS.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Pitfield, Kate
Pagination:iv, 110 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Communication Studies
Date:2004
Thesis Supervisor(s):Shade, Leslie Regan
ID Code:8329
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:22
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:22
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