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Always OnLanguage in an Online and Mobile World$
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Naomi S. Baron

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195313055

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195313055.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

The People We Become

The People We Become

The Cost of Being Always On

(p.213) 10 The People We Become
Always On


Oxford University Press

Beyond the effects that contemporary media may be having upon our language, we need to think about whether computers and mobile phones are impacting the social fabric as well. Since the early days of mainframes, many people have feared that computers are undermining our sense of community. These concerns proliferated with the explosive growth of computer-mediated communication such as email. The good news is that most contemporary studies examining the social effects of Internet use indicate we have more cause for relief than concern. Increasingly, more and more people are “always on” one technology or another, whether for communicating, doing work, or relaxing by surfing the web or playing games. Regardless of the purpose, the fact that people are always on means that they need either to drop some other activity or switch to multitasking mode. This book has examined what kind of people we become — as individuals and as family members or friends — if our thoughts and our social relationships must increasingly compete for our attention with digital media.

Keywords:   language, mobile phones, computers, email, Internet, digital media, computer-mediated communication, multitasking

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