Gendered Discourse Practices in Instant Messaging Gisela Redeker University of Groningen Abstract Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is rapidly becoming an essential part of (especially young people’s) everyday social life in the information society. With the increased availability of reliable internet access, interactive genres of CMC (email, text messaging via mobile phones, instant messaging, electronic chat, and postings on social network sites) are regular alternatives for, or more often additions to, face-to-face contacts for both work-related and private conversations. In this talk, I will focus on one-to-one CMC among close friends, in particular, instant messaging (IM). IM can be characterized as (i) sustained and (ii) mainly relational (as opposed to informational) communication, and as such constitutes a discursive practice in which the participants project, maintain, and negotiate their identities and their relation. As in face-to-face conversations, the participants’ gender is a relevant and often salient aspect in these interactions. Drawing on the extensive (if not unequivocal) literature on gender differences in face-to-face conversations, chat rooms, online discussions and weblogs, and on the still sparse evidence on the role of gender in IM, I will present a multi-faceted qualitative and quantitative analysis of dyadic instant messaging conversations among young male and female university graduates. I will discuss similarities and differences between male-male, female-female and male-female conversations with respect to length, topics, openings and closings, stylistic choices, and the use of humor. Finally, I will address the relevance of this investigation for the study of gendered discourse practices and for our understanding of relational computer-mediated communication. References Baron, Naomi S. (2004). See you online. Gender issues in college student use of instant messaging. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 23(4): 397-423. Fox, Annie B., Danuta Bukatko, Mark Hallahan & Mary Crawford (2007). The Medium Makes a Difference: Gender Similarities and Differences in Instant Messaging. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 26(4): 389-397. Guiller, Jane & Durndell, Alan (2007). Students’ linguistic behaviour in online discussion groups: Does gender matter? Computers in Human Behavior 23: 2240–225. Hancock, Jeffrey T. (2004). Verbal irony use in face-to-face and computer-mediated conversations. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 23(4): 447-463. Herring, Susan C. & John C. Paolillo (2006). Gender and genre variation in weblogs. Journal of Sociolinguistics 10(4): 439-459. Koch, Sabine, Mueller, B., Kruse, L., & Zumbach, J. (2005). Constructing gender in chat groups. Sex Roles 53(1-2): 29-41. Lampert, Martin D. & Ervin-Tripp, Susan A. (2006). Risky laugher: Teasing and self-directed joking among male and female friends. Journal of Pragmatics 38(1): 51-72. Leaper, Campbell & Ayres, Melanie M. (2007). A Meta-Analytic Review of Gender Variations in Adults' Language Use: Talkativeness, Affiliative Speech, and Assertive Speech. Personality and Social Psychology Review 11(4): 328-363. Nardi, Bonnie (2005). Beyond bandwidth: Dimensions of connection in interpersonal interaction. The Journal of Computer-supported Cooperative Work 14: 91-130. Schiano, D., C. Chen, J. Ginsberg, U. Gretarsdottir, M. Huddleston and E. Isaacs (2002): Teen Use of Messaging Media. Extended Abstracts of ACM CHI 2002 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 594–595). NY: ACM. Thomson, Rob (2006). The Effect of Topic of Discussion on Gendered Language in Computer-Mediated Communication Discussion. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 25(2): 167-178.