I've just been to a lecture on Twitter and digital identity, delivered by Dr Claire Warwick of the Centre for Digital Humanities at UCL and it was interesting to hear different angles on how we create identities online and through microblogging resources like Twitter. Some of it is clearly linguistic - the words we choose to use that reveal something about who we are or the identity we wish to present to others - but other parts of the talk touched on areas that were a bit more sociological: who uses these new media forms, differences between digital natives and newcomers, gender and identity performance.
Claire Warwick mentioned that gender and language was an area they were keen to explore, but it was perhaps a bit disappointing that having been enlightened by Deborah Cameron's brilliant lecture on the Myth of Mars and Venus at the emagazine conference yesterday, I heard the old stereotypes about men doing x and women doing y - even if it is updated for a new medium like Twitter - being repeated.
There may well be some significant gender differences in whether we use @replies, or if we "chat" and/or "tell", but it's probably not helpful to reduce it all to broad generalisations in this way, and maybe more revealing to look at language and identity within genders too.
Anyway, this is only a minor gripe and one I'm sure they'll address when they start their research into the whole area. The lecture was really interesting, particularly for a relatively new tweep (tweeting person? Twitter person?) like me. The lecture is (or soon will be) available from here.
Eleshere, this blog post about the word blog is a good read. We all know about the noun blog being a blend of web + log, but did you know it's being used as an intransitive verb to blog and as a transitive verb to blog something? Here, you can find out more.