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Shaping (non)-discursive social media spaces: Cross-national typologies of news organizations' heavy commenters

Hellmueller, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-6609-9395, Lischka, J. A. & Humprecht, E. (2021). Shaping (non)-discursive social media spaces: Cross-national typologies of news organizations' heavy commenters. New Media and Society, 23(11), pp. 3249-3267. doi: 10.1177/1461444820946454


This study examines the role of heavy commenters on social media. We propose typologies of heavy commenters on Facebook pages of six news organizations in two systems that historically embraced different discourse cultures—the United States and Germany. We find that discourse cultures are impacted by news outlet and country: the US discourse is more participatory in terms of comment frequency, but further characterized by a strong non-discursive culture compared to a participatory liberal discourse culture in Germany. Frequency of commenting as normative ideal of social media sites (e.g. web traffic) does not lead to higher amounts of deliberation. On the contrary, it may contribute to what we conceptualize as the non-discursive model. As an expression of this, heavy commenters in the United States more often perform hate watching that manifests in hostile commenting on stories that are incongruent with their political ideologies. Implications for the democratic function of media organizations on social media are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright SAGE 2021. Reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses.
Publisher Keywords: Comparative research, digital journalism, discourse culture, Facebook, heavy commenters, social media
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
SWORD Depositor:
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