Why We Would Rather Text than Talk: Personality, Identity, and Anonymity in Modern Virtual Environments

Why We Would Rather Text than Talk: Personality, Identity, and Anonymity in Modern Virtual Environments

Bobbe Gaines Baggio (American University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9899-4.ch006
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Whether they are checking out at the grocery store, watching a sporting event or eating out in a restaurant; people are texting. Text messaging has become very popular form of contact. Texting is increasingly a part of the overall communications strategy not only for teens but for everyone. Privacy is the number one reason for sending and receiving text messages. The ability to communicate anytime and anywhere but to do so with privacy makes texting attractive and popular. Although some research has been done on the impact of personality, identity and anonymity on texting messaging, very little definitive conclusions have been established either for usage or preferences. Some research indicates that introverts act more like extroverts and extroverts act more like introvert when they communicate using text messages. More research needs to be done to establish the influence of personality and identity on texting and texting on personality and identity.
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Since the beginning the Internet has been about communications, connections and alternatives. Before the Internet became a reality only a few decade ago, the last big communications innovation was the telephone. Social media sites and text messaging proved to be evidence that humans will embrace new ways of communicating almost overnight. These new technologies allowed us to interact easily and instantly. There is a growing concern that since technologies are used to communicate, communications skills are being lost. Even though people can stay connected 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the quality of our connections is changing. There are more devices to stay connected with; including laptops, mobile phones, tablets and more social networks and social media sites to deliver that connectivity. What was once used primarily for business and education, is now an integral party of a global social structure. The global village is connected and regulated by the connections to mobile devices. This is transforming communication patterns. Verbal and written communications skills are an important part of life. If text messaging is here to stay, and it certainly looks like it is, what impact will this have on personalities, a sense of identity and interactions in virtual environments.

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