Electronic Communication by Deaf Teenagers
Grinter, Rebecca E.
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We present a qualitative, exploratory study to examine the space of electronic based communication (e.g. instant messaging, short message service, email) by Deaf teenagers in the greater Atlanta metro area. We answer the basic questions of who, what, where, when, and how to understand Deaf teenage use of electronic, mobile communication technologies. Our findings reveal that both Deaf and hearing teens share similar communication goals such as communicating quickly, effectively, and with a variety of people. Distinctions between the two populations emerge from language differences. The teenagers perspectives allow us to view electronic communication not from a technologist's point of view, but from the use-centric view of teenagers who are indifferent to the underlying infrastructure supporting this communication. This study suggests several unique features of the Deaf teens' communication as well as further research questions and directions for study.