Learning ‘New’ Text-making Practices Online: From Instant Messaging to Facebooking

By Carmen Lee.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Being ‘always online’ has become a crucial way of life, especially for young people. Ever since the emergence of interactive text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC), people have been used to participating in multiple communication technologies simultaneously. This article explores the ways in which the text-making practices in different CMCs are indeed interrelated, arguing that experienced online writers often learn from and draw upon their former and current practices of CMC while participating in a ‘newer’ technology. A case study of how a group of Hong Kong young people perform writing activities on Facebook demonstrates the relationship between newer Web 2.0 media and other CMCs. In particular, the article shows how the writing of Facebook ‘status updates’ is developed from the practice of reporting personal activities and feelings in Instant Messaging. The study argues that new media texts are indeed the result of an on-going process of learning the affordances, discourse functions and linguistic features of different writing spaces, as well as how identities are performed in previously encountered media. All these lead us to rethink the question of ‘newness’ in the advent of Web 2.0 literacies.

Keywords: New Media, Informal Learning, Self-generated Literacy Practices, Text-making, Computer-mediated Communication, Web 2.0, Facebook, Instant Messaging

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 12, pp.111-124. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.665MB).

Dr. Carmen Lee

Assistant Professor, Department of English, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Carmen Lee is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She completed her PhD in Linguistics at Lancaster University. Her research areas include social aspects of language and literacy, linguistic practices on the Internet, and multilingual identities online. Over the past few years, she has carried out projects and published on various types of computer-mediated communication, including email, instant messaging, mobile phone texting, and more recently, Web 2.0 technologies such as Flickr and Facebook.


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