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Virtual Strangers: Young Love and Texting in the Filipino Archipelago of Cyberspace

by Bella Ellwood-Clayton
Mobile Communication Social and Political Effects ()

Abstract

Instead of reviewing the recent (growing) literature on the social aspects of mobile communication, discussing the advent of postmodern lexicon2 employed by texters, offering national statistics, or discussing the theoretical particulars of cyberspace,3 let me adhere to space limitations and discuss instead empirical data about how young Filipinos are restructuring amorous lived relationships and creating virtual ones through text communication. I hadn't planned to go to South-East Asia to conduct fieldwork only to return to write about technology and cyberspace; yet it would have been impossible not to respond to the omnipresence of the texting phenomena in the Philippines. I began to explore what the effects were for young people, and found that texting was uprooting traditional courtship, re-integrated matchmaking into society, and had the potential to subvert traditional gender ideologies in the domain of young love.

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