Name-Display Feature for Self-Disclosure in an Instant Messenger Program: A Qualitative Study in Taiwan

By Chou, Pao-Nan; Chen, Wei-Fan | Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology, Annual 2009 | Go to article overview

Name-Display Feature for Self-Disclosure in an Instant Messenger Program: A Qualitative Study in Taiwan


Chou, Pao-Nan, Chen, Wei-Fan, Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology


Introduction

Today, with high-speed network technology available, cyberspace has been a communication center in which people can distribute useful information, share valuable knowledge, receive training or education, conduct business transactions, build a social relationship, and so forth (Kang, 2007; Moore, 2005; Qian & Scott, 2007). Cyberspace yields dramatic impact on human beings' daily lives and plays an important role in the modern society (Cheuk, 2007).

In Taiwan, a survey (Yam Portal, 2005) showed that "instant messenger" (IM) usage has become the third most frequently accessed online activity following cyberspace's web surfing and e-mail. The report also indicated 66 percent of online users use at least one type of IM program to communicate with friends. Considering the types of IM, Windows Live Messenger (WLM) is the most popular software program (Yu, 2003). According to Microsoft Corporation[C] in Taiwan (MSN Network in Taiwan, 2006), the number of WLM users reached 7.5 million before the end of 2006. Taiwanese people who used WLM spent approximately 1.2 hours in the WLM system every day. Recently, in order to increase productivity, numerous business companies and government agencies prohibited employees from using WLM in their workplaces (Wu, 2007). For the situations described above, therefore, examining the phenomena of the IM usage can facilitate understanding on users' behaviors.

IMs, such as WLM, allow users to send real time messages to their online friends, who are listed on a friend list. Users add their friends' e-mail addresses to the list so that two correspondents can successfully chat via cyberspace. A name-display is one feature on an IM screen. Users can use it to self-define their nicknames which will be displayed in online friends' IM lists. For example, once one side defines the nickname, other side can see it appear in the IM's screen. Based on first-hand experiences, some users frequently change their nicknames which represent specific meaning; some others do not. Whether or not the chosen name-display reflects special psychological factors is worthy of exploration.

In the literature, the IM use has been applied to different activities. In the field of English education, for the purpose of enhancing students' learning outcomes, Tai (2007) integrated WLM into English learning curriculum. In the domain of forensic science, Van Dongena (2007) attempted to find crime evidence by analyzing various features of WLM. In the field of business, Cameron and Webster (2005) investigated IM's impact on employees' workplace performance. In the area of health education, Cheuk and Chan (2007) found that IM use affects students' academic performance. From the computer-mediated communication perspective, Leung (2004) reported that self-disclosure was significantly related to IM usage. However, of those studies focusing on IM, few adopted a qualitative methodology.

Compared to the application of IM use, the number of studies considering the name-display feature in the programs is sparse. Grinter and Palen (2002) reported that teen users changed their nicknames as a polite justification so that their online friends could easily identify their unavailability. Smale and Greenberg (2005) employed a specific program to record 444 users' nickname changes processed in three weeks. They found that most of participants frequently changed their nicknames and a relationship existed between age and the frequency of nickname changes. Furthermore, constantly changed nicknames fell into three categories: identification, information about self and broadcast message. However, for the previous two studies, the researchers did not explore the name-display feature from a psychological perspective.

A feature in the Bulletin Board System (BBS) is extremely similar to the name-display feature in the IM program. In addition to users' IDs, their self-defined nicknames also appear on the BBS. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Name-Display Feature for Self-Disclosure in an Instant Messenger Program: A Qualitative Study in Taiwan
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.