Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Gender Perspectives and Prediction in Online Communication

Gender Perspectives and Prediction in Online Communication

Rachel Willhite

It was thought that the anonymous nature of communication on the internet would allow for an advantage for otherwise disadvantaged groups. In practice, however, it has been documented that this is not always the case. The anonymous nature of the World Wide Web serves to shelter, not only otherwise disadvantaged groups, but those who would seek to discredit or silence them as well. Indeed, the belief that certain fundamental features leak through the standardization of the written word in casual environments and allow an individual’s gender to be identified is rather common. Though it is difficult to determine how common instances such as these are, it does bring to question whether people can determine the determine the gender of an individual online with any notable accuracy, and what strategies or features they believe help them to do this. A series of surveys and brief, informal interviews were conducted in order to determine what these perceived differences may be, and how useful they are in identifying the gender of a user online. This paper further seeks to compare this information with other studies done on gender and computer-mediated communication. Despite the overall lack of reliability in their cited strategies, participants were able to identify the gender of a poster with some accuracy.

April 9, 2014 - Posted by | abstract

1 Comment »

  1. Very interesting topic. To stay in the ‘prediction of gender’ topic, you may want to check Kramer’s work (1974 and 1975) associating gender prediction of cartoon captions to profanity, and the fact that informants were able to correctly associate a gender to a caption in 79% of cases, partly because the magazines from which these captions were taken sticked to the cultural stereotype of the woman using milder swear words than men. Whether this corresponds to real usage or not, (I hope) it might be of some interest to you, even if not directly linked to CMC. Keep us posted!

    Comment by Michaël GAUTHIER | April 9, 2014 | Reply

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