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Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Communication Studies

Department

Communication Studies

Abstract

"This research focuses on how text messaging as a communicative medium impacts the interpretation of all reality, especially the representation of cultural values. The research findings move the text messaging discussion away from its impact in education and toward a solution to the problem of isolated socializing (networked individualism). This study is important for a number of reasons: a) it clarifies the meaning and nature of text messaging in a world where face-to-face (FTF) communication is dwindling with the growth of technologically mediated communication mediums; b) it brings an overall theoretical balance to the mediated communication discussion, which in the current literature has been largely dominated by email, instant messaging and social media; c) it explores a focused portion of the neglected perspective from the community of text-messengers as to how this medium is influencing their personal, social, and cultural values; and d) it introduces an instrument for examining text messaging communication with the goal of revealing the values held by individuals using this variation of electronic communication. The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate the powerful impact of text messaging as a catalyst for change in cultural values. The main conclusions that can be drawn from this study are: a) Textese community members tend to align their values in accordance with their broader American cultural values, specifically control ; b) they value control to a high degree, because it is a means of expressing their self- identity ; and c) image management, time management, and relations management express the self-identified values Textese community members considered texting to promote. Therefore, the original contribution of this research is the presentation of a more holistic approach to understanding the influence of text messaging in society--an approach that acknowledges, apprehends, and more fully applies the foundational concept of the community of text messaging in the quest of determining value patterns. Through this examination of the language and characteristics of text messaging and its relationship with cultural values, a much-needed and neglected aspect of interpretation will be seen as imperative to the technologically mediated communicative process"--Leaves iv-v.

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