Woman Receives First Ever PhD in Texting

By Allison Bond | August 6, 2009 11:36 am

cell phoneFor many people, texting serves as a useful tool. But for British student Caroline Tagg, a study of text-messaging earned her a PhD.

That’s right, Dr. Tagg now has a doctorate of philosophy in texting—the first of its kind.

To earn the degree, Tagg spent nearly four years studying a total of 11,000 text messages containing 190,000 words and sent by 235 people, all of which she compiled and analyzed in a database. The Telegraph reports:

[Tagg] discovered that people text in the same way as if they were talking, using unnecessary words such as ‘oh’, ‘erm’ and often use grammatical abbreviations like ‘dunno’….

And she discovered from her 80,000 word thesis that there is more to texting that just abbreviations—something most people associate with texting.

“Actually, not many people use abbreviations,” she said. “People use playful manipulation and metaphors. It is a playful language. Not only are they quite creative, it is also quite expressive.”

She found that the average text message contains 17.5 words and that (shocker) some texts can be about incredibly mundane matters—”Hi. I know you are at work but I just wanted you to know I found my pen lid” being a prime example. She also called the experience “enlightening.”

So what do you think: Was the research a waste of time, or is Tagg a pioneer in exploring the linguistics of our newest communication method?

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Image: flickr / samantha celera

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!
  • addicted to bad

    Tagg is a pioneer in exploring the linguistics of our newest communication method, a method that happens to be a waste of time.

  • Sarah

    Was it worth studying? Yes. Will it blow open a new field of study? Probably not. Texting ‘language’ is an interesting cultural phenomenon, and although this small blurb about Tagg’s research doesn’t truely fascinate, I’m sure there’s some data in her full research that would be of interest to many people.

    Congratulations to Dr. Tagg! :)

  • NewEnglandBob

    Yawn. What’s next? Twittering for the depressed?

  • wjv

    Great, now there’s a doctoral thesis I can cite as evidence to shut people up who think texting is a better form of communication and not inane.

  • cpour

    I am sure that in a few years from now, texting and its methods will be a lesson to elementary schools (if still exist!!). Languages, in the form that exist today, will no longer be here and a new texting language will be the world’s new way of comm.(hmmmmm !!!)

  • Richard Davies

    I can’t stand ‘text speak’ and wish it was banned! Don’t encourage it!

    And yes…I think this PHD is the biggest waste of time ever! I could imagine a job interview where the interviewer is initially impressed at a PHD but then instantly disappointed when they find out its in ‘texting’.

  • Sciencez

    Academic research is supposed to advance the body of knowledge in the world, – this so called PhD is a waste of resorces and Caroline Tagg should be nothing but completely ashamed of herself for wasting aforementioned scarce resources!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I once saw another female get a PhD for a her research titled “Drinking Beer and watching TV” – yes the research part might have been fun (if you are that way inclined) but how does it add value the comminuty? – I’d politely suggest that it does nothing – except make some intellectual “wan-a-be” feel important!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Why should these people waste scare resources when there is lots of REAL AND VALUABLE RESEARCH (that could add real value to the world) but is being held up because of a lack of funding????????

  • SingaporeJoe

    She r teh win!!!1

  • http://www.sms2525.com Mem Maina

    Am very interested in Dr. Taggs Work. I run an SMS information service in EA and her research has enormous contribution to my work.

  • Rachel

    I thnk its gr8!

  • http://alanburkhart.blogspot.com Alan

    I wonder if she “studied” while she was driving. ;-)

    http://alanburkhart.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-did-i-get-here.html

  • NNM

    What a complete waste of time.
    I am shocked that you can get a phd for stating the obvious. It does not take a phd to analyze text messages and get statistics from a database.
    It’s degrading and an insult to real PhD’s.
    I would demand that her PhD be removed and that whoever decided it was worth a PhD gets sent back to pre-school and given a mobile phone course.

  • RightPaddock

    I wonder if anyone ever got a PhD in smoke signals, flag semaphores or Morse Code.

  • Robert

    I wonder if text language is a passing phase? Until a year ago or so, my teenage kids used to laugh at me because all my texts were written in good English without using any text language (with the help of predictive text). Then suddenly it all changed, I started receiving well-written texts from my sons, and on enquiry I was told that it was no longer de rigeur to use text language, and predictive text was the thing. Does anyone else have this experience?

    As for the research, I don’t think that people who don’t study linguistics and haven’t read the thesis should judge (myself included). No-one can predict how human communications will evolce in the future and this research could be a useful point on that curve. My only concern would be that 235 people is not really that many, I hope that they were chosen from a wide variety of locations and walks of life.

  • http://PaulANorman.com Paul A Norman

    1can only wundA @ wotVnxt phd willB In my cntry sm1 got a govt grant 2go2 USA 2study breakdancing

  • Mark

    I can’t help but laugh at all the indignant posts from people who have declared this a waste of time. SMS texting is a new communications method used by hundreds of millions of people. Anyone who suggests that it should never be studied fails to understand the point of linguistics.

  • http://www.reelix.za.net/ Reelix

    Average mXit (Cellphone Online Chat Application Popular In SA) conversation:

    - Begin conversation -

    p1: wuu2
    p2: nm u
    p1: libl2m

    - 20 minutes later -

    p1: b
    p2: b

    - End conversation -

    There’s a reason I despice sms(texting in the rest of the world) speak – It is a difficult, acronym-filled (More created daily!), hard to type, hard to read way of conversing – You also get people who use sms-speak for the sake of sms-speak (he110) – Not related to 1337-sp33k at all – Just because they can.

    - Reelix

  • Meh

    YAY! Now there is doctorate available for a non-sense way of speaking that is killing the english language! I have already seen young students, while writing papers, put “u” instead of “you”. Way to go, make the world a little bit more lazy.

    Just my opinion.

  • ThePits

    OMG! WTF?

  • Anonymous

    Let’s leave the PhD to the more important knowledge that has a constant use, such as Mathematics, Doctoring, History, etc. A PhD in Texting, that’s nothing more than a joke. Studying for 4 years on texting alone is more like a bachelors degree. It takes 7 years to work yourself up to your first PhD. Why do you think Doctors feel like the walking dead when you visit them? They spent 7 years just getting their PhD to rightfully have the Dr. prefix, plus some extra time in medical school for their chosen expertise.
    This so called PhD in Texting is nothing more than child’s play and does not deserve to be recognized as an official degree. I bet that 90% of the teenagers or younger could easily get this degree and faster than her, just because they grew up with texting technology because they are prone to constant use as texting has been a trend for quite some time since it’s initial launch.

  • Ronald Wabwire

    I am trying to get myself thinking positivly of this one. But i am honestly struggling. honestly.

  • Ricardo Rodrigues

    For all of you complaining, she made a phd in philosophy in the uk, she didnt spend 4 years studing text messages, for the love of god, she had normal philosophy classes, and in the end she analized be behavior of many people in many sms messages and tried to find patterns of human behavior. There is nothing wrong with this, and i would love to see most people complaining here to develop a study and a final report with 80.000 words, thats seems short and not inteligent?
    It was a philosophy phd and treated something in its area, if it was aeronautics it would be aerocrafts, physics would be quantum theory or something, computer science would be some sw developing stuff.

  • Jim Perry

    An incredible waste of time. Of course, the PhD is in philosophy, which is equally as much a waste.

  • http://www.businesshut.com Jason

    It took 4 years to study 1,000 text messages containing 190,000 words and sent by 235 people??? How many million texts are sent every day?

    What was the demographic of these 235 people? (I understand the article isn’t about the research, but about the “texting degree”.) This represents such a small sample for as much information is out there.

    All in all, I don’t see much value in this research. It sounds like the conclusion was:
    1. People don’t use abbreviations as much as you’d think.
    2. Some people send mundane and useless messages.
    3. Some people send interesting or important messages.
    *Wow! Mind bending!

    It’s fine if she received a degree in philosophy, but the article states she spent 4 years studying text messages.

    “To earn the degree, Tagg spent nearly four years studying a total of 11,000 text messages containing 190,000 words and sent by 235 people, all of which she compiled and analyzed in a database.”

  • Aaron

    What really bothers me is that I’m working hard to obtain my PhD in Health Informatics — a degree that will truly help peoples lives. That someone could get a PhD based on something as trivial as texting only serves to lower the overall value of a PhD.

    In years past, a high school diploma was your ticket to a job and a BS/BA was above and beyond. Now, you can’t get much of a career position unless you have a Masters degree. Doctorate degrees based upon whimsical concepts only serve to cheapen their overall value.

    However, I’ll admit, that this article implies that the degree was in texting and not something more substantial such as sociology, psychology, or philosophy and that texting was the subject of the dissertation. If that’s the case, then I won’t feel quite so bad about it, but I still feel that there are many more subjects that could or should have been studied instead.

  • brian

    Four years for that? Are you kidding? Should not have taken more than a week…

    Parse all of the text and make a dictionary in a few seconds, then run some stats on it, then analyze the stats.

    This is work that a high school sociology class should be doing.

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  • http://anEclecticMind.com Maria

    I can’t believe someone can get a DOCTORATE in a study so simple and mundane. My question is: who cares? How does this make the world better? A woman wastes four years of her life to study the illiterate ramblings of time-wasters and she’s REWARDED with the privilege of being called DR. TAGG for the rest of her life?

    I’m with Aaron (#25) on this one. She’s ridiculed the educational process and made a PhD just a little more trivial than it was.

    While a study of texting may be interesting, it’s certainly not interesting or important enough to earn a PhD.

  • Pete (humbly striving for a doctorate in CS)

    Stop whining all of you. Forms of communication will always be important no matter what form they come in. You sound like a bunch of 80 year olds b*tching about what it was like in your day. Cursive is going the way of the dinosaur because of technology that I’m sure all of you have used or even had a part in furthering. I don’t see any of you taking responsibility for your part in the world developing into a society that uses SMS text messaging as much as it does today. Let’s see if we can point out hypocrites! Aaron is blowing up his own head(which I’m sure his instructors are currently doing now because their heads are the size that Aaron aspires for his to be) with his “my degree is more important than anyone else’s” attitude and his “I’m gonna really help people’s lives”! Get over yourself. Anonymous thinks that all doctors are actually medical doctors and spend all day doing work in a hospital. Meh thinks that WE didn’t shorten the original version of English into our current form of the language. It’s just always been here in the form it’s in now and has never once evolved to be made easier to speak. No Meh we aren’t lazy at all, it’s the next generation that’s going to be lazy ;) We all speak perfect English on a daily basis. Reelix spells despise as dispice. Enough said about that person. Sciencez spells community as comminuty which could be mistaken for typing too fast. It is funny though that he did it while subtly telling this researcher to get a life with additional punctuation that would most definitely be considered incorrect in grammar school. I don’t remember my instructor saying “Feel free to add some additional exclamation points if you don’t feel that your point is getting as much emphasis as you want”. She must have left that out.

    There was some very valid and objective points too. Ricardo and Robert both had very interesting and compelling comments. Alan and Rachel offered humor. Brian, Jason and Sarah both brought a little more logic to the conversation. Thanks guys. Overall the reality is that no matter how much you “dispice” the “language”, it is still becoming a part of our world and ignoring it would be ignorant of us. Efforts should be made to understand it. We don’t just need a dictionary of terms but a study of how humans form these common phrases and acronyms. There’s plenty of knowledge to be gained by this and I applaud someone for standing up and awarding a researcher a degree for something that everyone would generally laugh at. I didn’t see any of you post your full name and title that included your Ph.D’s. Which is surprising because I’m sure all of you worked so hard and spent many hours in various hospitals to get them. Wink wink anonymous. Aaron gets the teenage tube sock award for being the biggest DB (figure that one out Aaron). It sounds a lot like ouche tag. That should be easy enough for you to fit into your busy schedule. Alan wins the best reference joke! Peace

  • Milo

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!1!!1

  • Clint

    #23 You are 100% correct!

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  • Ann Observer

    I’m not sure it is PhD worthy, but it certainly is worth some serious consideration.
    Some noteables have written on it, e.g. David Crystal, in “Txtng: The Gr8 Db8″. Look it up if you’re interested.
    He’s wouldn’t waste his time on something unimportant.

  • Bill, Ph.D.

    We need straight facts. One web site says that Dr. Tagg got a doctorate in philosophy. Here, we read that it was in texting. These are both wrong. I couldn’t find a list of degrees awarded by her school last month, so I have to make a guess.
    Dr. Tagg received a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham, I assume in English Language and Applied Linguistics. The title of her thesis is “A Corpus Linguistics Study of SMS Text Messaging”. So, no PhD in “texting”, although Dr. Tagg does research in texting. (I refuse to put punctuation inside quotation marks when the quotation marks are substituted for italics.)
    It looks like Dr. Tagg’s research has application to database interface (natural language parsing), compiler construction (empirical lexical analysis?), and corpus linguistics itself.
    Of course, Dr. Tagg could be laughing up her sleeve right now, but that’s fine. My own dissertation had one new result gotten largely by integrating around a bold, new contour in the complex plane. heh. heh.

  • The Dude

    lol talk about waste of time … couldn’t she have done a PhD in ‘Smoking Pot’ instead?

  • John

    Does anyone know if any University in the UK does BSc in Texting? I won’t have to stop texting during my lectures :)

  • http://none Paul

    The Dude (35): I’m sure that the use of cannabis has indeed formed the basis of important legal-criminological doctoral research, and that such research will have done much to inform academic debate on the topic, which in turn has an important impact on criminal justice policy development. As a legal academic I can udnerstand this, and I’m sure that Dr. Tagg could have done a PhD in ‘Pot Smoking’ has she been interested in that topic.

    As it happens, Dr. Tagg was interested in, and had a background in, linguistics, and chose to define her research on text messaging behaviour – a huge social phenomenon that must clearly affect other areas of social, educational, consumer – or even political – behaviour. Now, without being a linguistics expert (and you?) I cannot fully appreciate the impact that such research would have on academic debate or on public or private sector policy, but I am confident that Dr. Tagg’s research will of course be of some importance to experts in the linguistic field, or even to those in areas as diverse as marketing and education.

    I can’t see how her doctorate is anything other than a conventional piece of research that explores cutting edge issues affecting the way we live our lives. This is what research is all about, and I fully congratulate her not only on her academic efforts, but on being a darn sight less ignorant than the majority of posters here!

  • http://none Paul

    And before any of the grammar vultures start their critique, I am aware of my typing errors!

  • Cardin

    Her research is intriguing and will definitely be helpful in analyzing this social medium’s linguistic trends.

    But I do question her decision to become a specialist in that field…

  • Caroline

    I’m glad (I think) that this has generated so much discussion, and excuse my butting in.

    My PhD was indeed in English and more specifically in Corpus Linguistics, a field which focuses on the analysis of large collections of naturally-occurring texts. As has been pointed out, my corpus was not so large, but that was due to the difficulty in obtaining text messages – taking those sent specifically to public websites is unlikely, as I’m sure you’ll agree, to give a very balanced view of texting. Having said that (and, again, as has been pointed out in this discussion), I make no claims (in my thesis) to be describing texting per se, but limit my observations to the ‘network’ of texters who participated in the study.

    Language description is a fairly legitimate field of study ;-) , and one that has benefitted from tape recorders and our realisation that an understanding of language requires investigation of its use in a range of situations including conversation – and text messaging. Our personal opinions as to whether the medium is trivial or time-wasting should not detract from the fact that it is now a widely used form of communication. And not one that relies solely on abbreviations – ‘text speak’ is more a myth created through the media than an accurate representation of how many people text.

    I am in no way going to suggest that non-linguists should NOT have an opinion on this – but I don’t think opinions shoud be based too firmly on snippets read in the popular press. As you know, this will always be a balance between what is actually in the research and what will appeal to the general public.

    All that sounds very pompous, now I read it back – that’s probably why the newspapers try to jazz it up a bit ;-) . If anyone has any questions, I’m happy to respond.

  • Bill, Ph.D.

    Caroline: Thank you for the clarification and comments. Let me add to your observations that our personal opinions on whether texting is trivial or time-wasting does not make its study trivial or time-wasting.
    Congratulations and good researching.

  • Uday Wali

    Few years back, during a Board-of-studies meeting, I was suggesting inclusion of Web in teaching-learning process and what I got was a response similar to what I see on this page. However, over the years, the web has become an integral part of technical and literary teaching-learning process.
    I wonder if texting is a lazy alternative to full bodied language. See it the other way – texting has a higher information density than regular
    English. If I have a car that can run at 200MPH, would I drive it at 20? If texting delivers message at full speed, why use a slower language? Most of our yongsters have an IQ much superior to us and think faster than we ever did. In fact, most of them have internalized fast learning techniques. That, along with the tools of their generation, could be creating a new communication strategy that may well prove to be a successful milestone in human communication. For a research, nothing should be out of bounds.
    I wonder, twenty years from now, some one may study ‘English, a case in lost languages of the modern world!!!’
    For my PhD, I worked on electronic network analysis, back in the early 80s.

  • yo-yo

    eqic fail

  • Neal

    Everyone has to be kidding? Universities of the UK should be outraged a school would award a PhD for this garbage. Maybe we can earn a PhD in Twitter or maybe a graduate degree in Facebook? I do not care what research was done, or what she discovered. Her findings might make a interesting blog or an article for a e-news site. Come on, to do a PhD on it? Shame on you University of Birmingham for awarding this garbage.

    The part I love was “discovered that people text in the same way as if they were talking…” You’re kidding right? I learned this in the 1st grade. We write how we speak, that is why we need to proof read. This all crap, and the University of Birmingham is a joke.

  • Helgi

    Dear #42. Uday I disagree that texting is (in short) a faster more efficient encoding of contents. If it was, it should be easily be understandible by any party. Moreoften however it becomes some sort of ‘private encoding’ which only the involved parties will understand. Unambiguity in communication should be valued. All this is however beside the point. The point being wheter (as you can see I’m not a native speaker so bare with me) a study about texting may merit such a high honour as to be called Dr. Sorry Caroline, but your ‘clarification’ didn’t add anything to the ‘snippet in the popular press’ for me, yet did confirm it. Based upon it I think/hope this would not be possible in Belgium, nore do I feel should it be. Indeed the 4 years involved are too short, the scope too narrow and the ‘findings’ too evident for it to merit such an honour. And yes, you may assume me a little jealous, what master wouldn’t be? Then again I understand linguistics departements differ greatly with the outside world concerning what research is found to be trivial. As you are a product of it I am sure you and your colleagues feel this is a justified, worthy field of study. I don’t see why, in having done the work, they shouldn’t reward you with this title. Judged by your peers I am convinced you deserved it. You must forgive the above harshness of my co-commentators, they have clearly no idea about the trivialities studied under the ‘linguistics umbrella’. Dr. Taggs they are however not completelly wrong to ask some return for society. You became a Dr. not because of the work, but because your people thought you could make it worthwhile to the world. Well doctor, let me ask you the only real relevant question in defends of ones thesis: “Tell me. Why is this important! How does this make us advance, make us stronger?”
    Sincerelly,

    Helgi
    Brussels

  • Mostly Harmless

    It won’t be long before Dr. Taggs is an expert in yet another dead technology language. Text is primitive, its going the way of Morse code.

  • Paps

    This work is useful because……?

  • BRAIN

    Here there are three (3) points: a) Earning a degree with THAT topic, b)The topic itself and c) how the article has been written.Many of you are messing up the three aspects. For those who think this is a waste of time, it is NOT! you do not see that there is a psychosocial virus that is present everywhere, but you do not see it, you do not hear it because is silent: TEXTING. The topic is quite interesting but the conclusions are poor (based on what was described in the article). You can see those ideas in any magazine. In this sense I agree with 24. There are no DEEP IDEAS in that research and this creates frustration in some readers.
    What REALLY happens is that texting is making people to be MORE UNSENSITIVE because is sent THROUGH the distance. Everything that is sent through the distance diminishes in some way sender’s feelings and we, humans, are defined by feelings. You can type “STUPID” or “I love you” but DO YOU FEEL THE SAME IF you say the same concepts in the other person’s face, do you???????. Someone can push a bottom here to send a misil to some country for killing 29 humans (like himself) including six children (like his so beloved sons)BUT would this SAME person feel the same if he kills those 29 persons with his own hands, where there is not distance????…What happens with texting is the same: People do not feel or do not fell much what they type and this is why texting is destroying COMMUNICATION because people do not feel,in many cases, what they text.
    Other point is that “texting people” create a FALSE meaning of TIME keeping “busy” themselves texting “important” info BUT when they are FACE to FACE with other people they do not communicste much.
    On the other hand, texting is definig youth’s identity making them to believe it is “an effective way of communication”.
    The linguistic part of the topic is just the tip of the iceberg, what is really gravitational are the psychological, psyclinguistic, antropological and sociological meaning of texting.

  • BRAIN

    do you see that people that text abundantly demonstrate sensorial lacking as a proof of biological regression??..topic for other dissertation…

  • J42

    Obviously, in a short extract one is not going to get the full remit of the research or its results. All that one can get is ‘sound bites’; so I am sure that many important, significant parts of the research have been under-reported.

    We tend to forget that ground-breaking research of the past was regarded with ridicule when it was performed (e.g. experiments with ironstone attracting needles in the 19th century which led directly to the electronic revolution that we rely on today). Research is about discovery that may or may not lead to breakthroughs in understanding or in inventions; not about treading well worn paths on ‘flavour of the month’ topics that someone regards as ‘useful to society’ (although many research funding bodies seem to forget this).

    If mankind had restricted itself to merely following ‘safe’ topics without branching out into areas that others would consider unorthodox, we would never have left the stone age.

  • Jan

    i hope there is more to this Phd than meets the eye…. otherwise it is a waste of time…
    no one could possibly seriously manage to spend 4 years JUST studying texts and get away with a Phd and the right to call themselves Dr.. how could anyone have the bare face. So.. i give her the benefit of the doubt and really hope it was a Phd well earned and worthy of the title Dr.
    Having said that.. i read a piece in our local paper a few weeks ago which was about Research done at St Andrews Uni (no doubt lengthy and expensive research) that concluded that golfers played worse after one bad hit and that it affects the rest of their game… now i could have told you that with no research and no Phd. I think my 1 year old neice could have told you that… NOw THAt is a complete waste of funding!!

  • Janie

    I wouldn’t have given her a degree in texting, but maybe a degree in linguistics instead. c’mon people, there are degrees on language, texting is a language. Maybe it will sell as well as the ebonics dictionary

  • An Actual Thinker

    Fail.

  • Craig

    So here someone talking about some people he or she knows: -

    Yeah, he`s doing really well since he got his PhD in Quantum Mechanics and his wife is thinking of doing a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. I also hear that Mary has finished her PhD in Developmental Economics and her son is well on his way to completing his PhD in Nuclear Engineering. As for John, well he is a real success – he got his PhD in Texting!!!???!!!

    Is the problem not obvious!?!

  • llama

    lol no way

  • Shakespeare (?)

    2B or not 2B, that is the ?

  • zida

    woow gr8 DR.tagg ur
    wish you send me a copy at:
    zidaspeedy@yahoo.com

  • Shakespeare (?)

    …and some have gr8ness thrust upon them

  • / ZIDA

    STILL WAITING FOR A COPY DR .TAGG
    ZIDASPEEDY@YAHOO.COM

  • Ekspurt

    Zida: It’s worth its w8 in gold.

  • Steubing

    It’s like getting a phd in Gameboy.

  • Bukator

    This is the same as studying peoples favourite colours. So you end up with most people liking blue or red or something. wow! great! what a waste of time…who cares. So the average text is 17.5 words. OK…now what…doesn’t change anything.

  • S

    To every single one of you posting disparaging nonsense: grow up.

    If your intellect is underdeveloped to the point where you are incapable of comprehending the import of analyzing a contemporarily relevant mode of communication (regardless of whether or not that was the primary focus of Caroline’s studies), then you are, frankly, going to contribute only the most remedial input to this discussion.

    Text communication is here to stay; between e-mails, SMS, IM, Twitter, Facebook “wall posts”, and whatever the future has to offer us, there is absolutely no way this is going to simply vanish overnight — and to the yokel suggesting that “SMS” was like Morse Code:

    I suggest you review history. Morse was in common use for quite a long time; it still has practical application today. If SMS remains in use that long it’s hardly in imminent danger of vanishing tomorrow.

    Anyway, you disgust me, O ignorant, self-aggrandizing, deluded, and insecure pricks of the internet. The term ‘trolling’ would only dignify this meaningless gibbering you so laboriously mistranscribed from faltering thought to idiotic text.

  • Piers Anderson

    S Says:
    February 4th, 2010 at 6:58 am

    “To every single one of you posting disparaging nonsense: grow up.”

    Your abusiveness doesn’t suggest much maturity.

    It is obvious that textual language is not a “mode of communication” in its own right, but rather a trivialisation of normal language. There’s nothing wrong with that, when done between people who know each other well, but to apply academic tools to it as if has a universality of its own is literally ludicrous (a game).

    Dr Tagg says, “I make no claims (in my thesis) to be describing texting per se, but limit my observations to the ‘network’ of texters who participated in the study.” How can anyone imagine that the results are likely to have any academic objectivity?

    Does Dr Tagg approve of the fact that students often use elements of textual language in their essays? If not, why does she think it worthy of academic study? if she does, why doesn’t she use it herself when she writes?

    Bill suggests that Dr Tagg may be laughing her socks off (or some such thing). Maybe she enjoyed the work (there’s no accounting for taste, as they say). It’s the fact that a university permitted it that is worrying.

  • Piers Anderson

    J42 Says: “We tend to forget that ground-breaking research of the past was regarded with ridicule when it was performed…”

    You have a point, but CT’s rather apologetic post above hardly gives the impression that she believes she has discovered something vital. If she did, I think she would be a little less on the defensive, and a little more eager to convince the reader of the importance of her researches. Nothing I have read (including an essay, published online, which demonstrates her methods) persuades me that she has done anything more than amuse herself, applying academic methods and procedures to utter trivia.

  • Bert Rackett

    How many PhDs does it take to figure out that SMS is a toy. Whip it out of your pocket, press 160 keys (or 200 if your thumb is too fat). WHEEEEEE!
    It’s turning the world into hordes of haiku scribblers, destroying the English language and replacing it with a dictionary of perversions. The sad part is that almost by definition the messages are too short to really communicate anything. “Hi Joe! I’m at Walmart.” How did we ever do without it?
    Why are the messages so short? The people selling the service have tower control channels that are always active, and have lots of extra capacity. So much that more than a trillion micromessages can be carried without adding communication costs. And the service providers will make thirty billion dollars in 2010 providing the service. Average cost per message, 14.7 cents.
    I don’t have a PhD, but I’ve done most of the engineering design for a desk landline telephone stand. It has a forty character display, a little drawer containing a folded full size keyboard, and software that allows creating and editing text of any length. When you like what you’ve written (with ten fingers), place a call, press a function key and HMMMMM, off goes your text, perhaps 900 words per minute. Is it private? Press another function key and only someone with your key can read it. The message is sent with audio signals, and a voice channel can carry it without any additional fees. You purchase the device, and never have to pay an additional dime. If you have “Moby Dick” on a USB memory stick, plug it in, press a button, and it’s sent to someone’s memory. All this with no computer and no internet access. A five dollar microprocessor does all the work.
    My question is, why isn’t such a device available? It could have been built in the sixties. My second question is, why can’t I interest anyone in developing it?

  • Brian DK

    Time to reduce number of PhD graduates!

  • http://www.facebook.com/GoLdNbLaCk.Dragon Ayaan Ahmed

    Waste!

    You dont give just anyone a Phd!

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