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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

My Best Day

My Best Day

Managing “Buddies” and “Friends”

(p.71) 5 My Best Day
Always On


Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the way people present themselves to a select group of friends online based on data from two sources: a study of instant messaging (IM) away messages collected by college students in fall 2002, coupled with a spring 2006 study of how college students were using and responding to Facebook. If personal bulletin boards are tangible devices for communicating with classmates who are physically proximate, virtual platforms such as IM and social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace offer additional outlets for conveying information or socializing. However, online sites are also places for constructing images of how one wish others to perceive him or her. Away messages are part of a broad suite of IM functions enabling users to send synchronous messages to individuals but also to “present” themselves to members of their buddy list or anyone knowing their screen name. This chapter also looks at the use of mobile phones, chat, and text messaging to send informational/discursive messages that invite communication now or in the future.

Keywords:   instant messaging, social networking, away messages, college students, Facebook, text messaging, chat, mobile phones

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