Our Projects
>> Instant messaging is one of the most widely used forms of communication at Stanford University. Take a look at sample IM conversations here. While only 26% of students nationwide use a form of Instant Messaging according to a Pew Internet study, 90% of students surveyed at Stanford report using IM on a daily basis. Students living in dorms with high speed Internet connections constantly IM each other, their family, and their friends from back home. These IM conversations range from topics about school, gossip, and complaints to emotionally charged topics such as religion and politics. IM is so prevalent in the college culture that it is very rare to find a Stanford student who has not been exposed, in one way or another, to instant messaging.

>> So how exactly do today's students use instant messaging? What trends occur in their usage and behavioral patterns? How do those trends relate to what occurs in real life settings? And does instant messaging really undermine real life interaction between people?

>> To that end, the authors each researched a different aspect of instant messaging among college students. Four of us created a survey to distribute informally among students on our campus, while the fifth looked through logs of instant messaging conversations that had taken place over the school year (2002-2003).

>> We've also assembled a group of useful links related to Internet and IM studies as well as some free instant messaging systems currently available for download. To find out more information about our research, follow the links below (you'll need Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® to download the papers):

[ A Vast Weave of Threads: How Instant Messaging Facilitates Inter-dormitory Network Communities Among Undergraduates at Stanford University ] - by Allen Cheung
Allen’s project looks at the effects of instant messaging on inter-dormitory networks and relationships at Stanford University.
[ A Note to Mom: Why I Use IM ] - by Eric Chu
With the advent of the Internet, many scholars have debated its social effects. With IM, however, few studies have been conducted to determine its role in college culture. How, exactly, do college students--particularly those at Stanford--perceive IM? And what exactly do they use it for? What role does it play in their existing friendships?
[ How Does Instant Messaging Affect Interaction Between the Genders? ]- by Christine Lee
Gender differences have been frequently observed in real life conversations between men and women. Some of these have carried over to the online world as well. Do they exist in instant messaging exchanges also?
[ The Effect of Instant Messaging on the Social Lives of Students Within a College Dorm ] - by Juan Marquez
Although instant messaging has become part of the mainstream college culture, there has been very little research done on how it affects socialization of students. In what ways does instant messaging affect student's social interactions with others within a dorm?
[ College Students and Instant Messaging: An Analysis of Chatting, Flirting, & Using Away Messages ] - by Abraham Nachbaur
Instant Messaging has become an integral aspect of student life. By supplementing many forms of traditional communication, online interaction further facilitates the formation and maintenance of face-to-face relationships. How do chatting, flirting, and using away messages on IM promote community cohesiveness?

© 2003 theMercuryProject. Stanford, CA 94305.
Comments? Suggestions? E-mail us at theMercuryProject @hotmail.com
Last Updated: Sat June 7, 2003 4:43 PM