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Redefining Vernacular Literacies in the Age of Web 2.0

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date07/2012
JournalApplied Linguistics
Journal number3
Volume33
Number of pages17
Pages282-298
Early online date26/03/12
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In this article, we examine the characteristics of vernacular literacies on Web 2.0, focusing on the writing activities performed on the photo-sharing site Flickr.com. This site provides people with many possibilities for writing, ranging from individual tags to extensive profiles. The study investigates these forms of writing to address questions about people's contemporary everyday literacy practices: the extent to which these are new practices and how the notion of vernacular literacies is changing in a global context. Data for the research come from a sample of 100 Flickr sites, along with online interviews with 30 active multilingual Spanish-speaking and Chinese-speaking users of Flickr. The study shows that people draw upon a wide range of multilingual and multimodal resources to project new global identities. The writing practices found on Flickr are often changing and new ones are created out of existing ones. The article concludes by redefining the concept of vernacular literacies, showing how they are now more valued and how people are using local resources to participate in global writing practices.