Learning ‘New’ Text-Making Practices Online: From Instant Messaging to Facebooking
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 paper 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 will be used to illustrate the relationship between newer Web 2.0 media and other CMCs. In particular, the paper shows how the writing of Facebook 'status updates' is developed from the practice of reporting personal activities and feelings in Instant Messaging and blogging. The study argues that new media texts are indeed the result of an on-going process of learning the affordances, discourse functions and genre 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: Informal Learning, Self-Generated Literacy Practices, Text-Making, Computer-Mediated Communication, Web 2.0, Facebook, Blogging, Instant Messaging
Dr. Carmen Lee
Assistant Professor, Department of English, The Chinese University of Hong Kong