- Restrictions on Access:
- Open Access.
- In modern text-based communication, the usage of emojis symbols that indicate an emotional response on the part of the writer has increased dramatically (Durscheid & Siever, 2017). The emergence and increasing use of emojis can be seen as an extension of the usage of various punctuation marks, such as the question mark, that were introduced into the English language in the fifteenth century (Goldsborough, 2015). Emojis evolved from the usage of emoticons, which are keystrokes that are combined in different ways to convey a facial expression abstractly (Gkoni et al, 2017). Because emojis are graphical symbols that are typically designed to convey emotion, they can be seen as an abstraction of the facial expressions used in face to face communication, but in the context of a text-based conversation.Despite the apparent paralinguistic functionality of emojis within a text-based conversation, there has been no study of their usage from a general paralinguistic perspective, with the exception of a few studies that investigated their usage by different genders and nations (Algharabali & Taqi, 2018; Lu et al, 2016). In contrast, there has been much research conducted in the paralinguistic aspects of verbal communication with regards to different ethnic groups (Graham & Argyle, 1975). More specifically, no study of emoji usage has examined possible differences in emoji use in rural and urban areas, despite the fact that there is much difference between the living conditions, pace of life, and general outlook on life within both of these types of areas (Sullivan, 1994 & Halfacree, 1995). In addition, the patterns of socializing of urban dwellers is closer in nature to the socialization patterns seen on modern day social networking sites (Wirth, 1938). It is also the case that the different geographic regions of the United States, the south and north; and east and west; have different views with regards to conservatism and sense of place (Bone, 2005; Blevins, 2016; Hibbard, 1999). In response to the dearth of information about emoji use for different purposes in different settings, my thesis investigates the paralinguistic function of emojis with regards to usage patterns in rural and urban areas across the United States. In order to conduct this project, the Twitter feed from eight cities and near-by rural towns spread throughout the United States were collected using the Twitter public API. The geographic locations for the cities and rural comparisons were chosen to represent major metropolitan areas from each of the four time zones within the United States. Furthermore, I chose one city and one rural town from each time zone to be located in a northern versus a southern location. One hundred tweets were collected from each population center, totaling to 1,600 tweets.The resulting tweets were filtered to focus only on tweets containing emojis in a two-step process. First, the non-emoji tweet content was analyzed to capture a best-guess as to the context in which the emoji appeared. This step was completed using the topic analysis tool provided by the IBM Watson API. The result is a relatively high-level classification for any emoji-containing tweet with sufficient content (e.g., business, entertainment). Following this first phase of analysis the individual emojis (or sometimes groups of emojis within a single tweet) will undergo content analysis to classify them according to paralinguistic function.My findings are presented as an exploratory study of different uses of emoji as a function of urban versus rural areas, as well as general portions of the country (e.g., coastal, north versus south). As such, my thesis project complements and enriches earlier studies of emojis use as a function of gender and nationality. I discuss my findings with respect to the types of messaging supported by the Twitter paradigm and how tools might be designed to better support such messaging in different settings.
- Dissertation Note:
- M.S. Pennsylvania State University 2019.
- Technical Details:
- The full text of the dissertation is available as an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file ; Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view the file.
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