YouTube Commentary: Social Interaction in Online Publics

Candice Lanius
2011 The Eagle Feather  
Conversation, that spontaneous and informal expression of ideas, occupies space in both the minds of participants and in the social sphere. This research paper explores how YouTube users manage to socialize using interactive features of the website without traditional context clues. Through a discussion of social phenomena in this setting, this paper argues that users understand meaning through a process of speech mode formation. Speech modes take into account the composition of a group's
more » ... dual communicative choices in response to a particular setting, and they document how that collective forms a sphere of meaning and builds standards of practice. A combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods were applied to one hundred randomly selected commentary threads from YouTube's fifteen content categories. The conceptual placement of speech within Jurgen Habermas' publics allows for the creation of internet cultures and normative communicative behaviors which enable users to maximize their communicative competence and to manipulate meaning. In constructing speech modes, this paper addresses internet aggression (trolling), economic activity, social-networking, supportive speech, and opinion transmission.
doi:10.12794/tef.2011.143 fatcat:i2atu7nfjnfyvkozjojfoimeiq