Reviewers Reference Remoteness Rather than Recency

I’ve been invited to participate in a panel called “Language and Mobility: Space, time & social media – Communicating (the) here & now” in June 2014  at the Sociolinguistics Symposium 20  in Jyväskylä, Finland. The title of the talk I’ll be giving is “Right now versus back then: Recency and remoteness as discursive resources in online reviews.”  The basic idea is that many discourse scholars have noticed that a dominant characteristic of social media is its focus on recency, or “now-ness.” In other words, on what we are doing at-this-very-same-moment-when we are posting our status update on Facebook, or as we are tweeting. However, in my ongoing analysis of 1,000 online reviews, I am noticing that review writers are actually even more likely to mention something that took place several years ago than they are to describe what’s happening “right now.” I am still working through my analysis of temporal references, but in a few weeks, I hope to have some ideas about what functions these remote past references serve, and why review writers use them as much as they do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *