There's an article by Kate Fox on "Evolution, Alienation and Gossip" - via the Social Issues Research Centre - in which the role of mobile telecommunications in the 21st century is explored.
Her summary: Gossip is not a trivial pastime: it is essential to human social, psychological and even physical well-being. The mobile phone, by facilitating therapeutic gossip in an alienating and fragmented modern world, has become a vital 'social lifeline', helping us to re-create the more natural communication patterns of pre-industrial times.
Some of the findings in short:
- Mobile gossip is good for us
- Mobile phones are the new garden fence
- Men gossip as much as women (Well, this was not exactly new :-))but, they tend to talk more about themselves. The study did find a sex difference in 'gossip partners', with men more likely to gossip with work colleagues, partners and female friends, while women gossip more with same-sex friends and family. Male and female gossip also sounds different, as women use more animated tones, more detail and more feedback.
- Texting helps teenagers (and some adult males) to overcome awkwardness and inhibitions and to develop social and communication skills – they communicate with more people, and more frequently, than they did before mobiles.
For keen learners:
Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better via Online Education Database.