A corpus study of YouTube comments on flaming and formality in relation to the affordability of the product.
Computer-mediated discourse (CMD) is the online communication produced by networked individuals and is becoming increasingly important for organisations nowadays. Online user-generated content in CMD has an impact on the reputation of a brand. Hence, researchers have paid attention to the investigation of online behavior. No recent study has examined the relation between the affordability of the product and CMD variation. This study aimed to gain insight in the relation between the affordability of the product and the linguistic styles flaming and formality. Furthermore, the link between flaming and formality was examined. In total, the corpus consisted of 500 YouTube comments that were randomly selected. Chi-square tests were performed to test whether there was any discrepancy in the distribution between a video that represented less affordable products (Samsung vs. Apple) and affordable products (Cola vs. Pepsi). ! No signif icant relation was found between the affordability of the product and flaming whereas a significant relation between the affordability of the product and formality showed that the Samsung vs. Apple video contained more formal comments than the Cola vs. Pepsi video. Moreover, the results revealed a significant relation between flaming and formality, which means that impolite comments were commonly seen as informal too. A possible explanation might be that senders of impolite comments do not bother to formulate a formal comment and vice versa. The findings of this study deepen the understanding of language use on YouTube and could help community managers to create a social media strategy.
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