I am currently in the midst of writing a paper on language and its affiliation in social media, specifically as in how opinion leadership emerges out of the noise in the online public sphere. I have always been interested in how meanings are formed through textual means, having been in user experience writing field for quite some time. However, I have never been trained in linguistics, although I am familiar with several terms I have heard through reading and movies. There was that time I let out a squeal when Louise mentioned of Sapir-Whorf theory in my favourite movie, Arrival, as it was something I could recognise from my readings.
While doing research for the paper, I came across this wonderful book called Discourse of Twitter and Social Media, by linguist Michele Zappavigna. This quote struck me the first time, how true it is:
Social media can be used like “Momus’ window of Greek mythology, revealing one’s innermost thoughts for all to see.”
I am currently reading the first one hundred pages at the moment, so I am doing my best to summarise what I have found interesting so far regarding ‘searchable talk’:
- Hashtagging (from something as general as #christchurch, or with a purpose such as #blacklivesmatter, or for fun like #iwokeuplikethis) is a form of discourse tagging, and marks the beginning of searchable talk — where we can mark our discourse and be found by others in order to bond around some particular values.
- From the semiotic perspective, this function affords new forms of sociality. We can all see what is being said at any given moment (provided the accounts are public) and join in whenever we could.
- This real-time discourse that Twitter (and other social media platforms) affords has risen as a rival to Google Search, where people commenting that searching Twitter may soon might be one of the most effective ways to gather information.
- Two kinds of search behaviours emerge out of this: People go to Twitter to search more regarding social contents and events, while they go to Google to find out more about facts and navigation.