In this class textbook, Sunstein reveals her fears about the "Daily Me", the process by which individuals today can filter ever more increasing amounts of electronic information to fit a highly personal profile, such that they can see only that information they wish to see in the world. In addition, she speaks about the convergence and polarization of ideas and the groups which espouse them, on the internet to the extent that she uses the term "balkanization" for some online communities such as race hate groups or political sites. When people of a like mind do get together on a newsgroup, bulletin board, website, or chat room, it is found that members tend to further gravitate to those who have strong, defined opinions on topics of interest and concern for those individuals. If that is the case, if one believes that women's speech is quantitatively different from men's speech and that women may find more community by remaining in the online company of women, then it may be the case that women and men may divide their online participation among more gendered lines. Also, the way that strong opinions, criticism, and conflict are handled online may have a direct relationship to whether or not women will espouse new ideas or new online venues outside of their known social spheres.
This very recent compilation (2005) contains 11 scholarly articles on the subject of adolescent girls and their use of the web, from perspectives of age, gender, ethnicity, and sociology/media theory. With regard to the subject of teenage girls and fandom, I am interested in Scodari's work on the negotiation of age and gender in TV fan newsgroups, since I am also discussing women's speech in such groups. Mazzarella continues this topic with her discussion of the "cultural economy" of teenage girls fandom on the internet. Finally, Thiel takes on the description of the construction of identity and gender identification for girls over instant messaging, which she describes as both a cultural and an experimentation space. While this text does not discuss specific linguistic topics, it does serve as an interesting sociological reference for young women's behavior on the internet, which could influence or inform linguisitic decisions online.
This text consists of three sections regarding women's use of the internet. Part One deals with the definition of gender as part of a user's identity on the net, in particular for internet gamers (Paasonen) and female professionals (Dorer) The second part concerns how women are addresses as consumers of the internet and networks, with examples from online communities like Oprah.Com (Cooks/Paredes/Scharrer) and other women's websites (Gustafson). Part Three gives examples of everyday uses of the internet for bringing girls and women together, and also discusses the problems and strategies inherent for lesbians online (Poster). Finally, the fourth and last part talks about gender and new media in the contexts of the school, politics, and television viewing. This looks to be a very interesting text from a sociological perspective which can supplement the other linguistic texts in the bibliography.