Comments on YouTube Videos: Understanding the Role of Anonymity

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  • Readers’ comments and ratings have become very popular on online news websites. Seeing comments on a website creates an impression of an active audience and that the website is alive.This may encourage readers to view the website as a place where everyone is and thus somewhat adds to the credibility.
  • Data gathering on November 14th for all nine environmental groups selected
  • Appreciation – love, change, beautiful, brilliant, awesome, proud, cool, fantastic, majestic, good, hope, respect, incredible, marvel, thumbs up, favorite, use, great, touch, thank, nice, heart, amazing, wow, bravoCriticism – dislike, against, evil, bad, ugly, hate, retard, notFlaming – f…, fcuk, f**k, cunt, bitch, racist, bastard, dick, nazis, shit, asshole, pervert, shit, nuke, douchebag, piss, penis, porn, wtf.Spam – ___Eruhfeuhf+++++####*******
  • Comments on YouTube Videos: Understanding the Role of Anonymity

    1. Comments on YouTubeVideos: Understandingthe Role of Anonymity Laeeq KhanTelecommunications, Information Studies, and Media Michigan State University AEJMC - 2012
    2. YouTubeBy far the most popular video sharing site by traffic in theworldAbout 21% of visitors to the site come from the UnitedStates (Alexa, 2012)Content increasingly generated by users of a site (UGC) 2
    3. 3
    4. Why study user-generated content (UGC)?Readers’ comments, ratings, integral elements of usergenerated contentComments on a website create an impression of an activeaudience and that the website is alive & credible Kraut and Resnick (In press) 4
    5. Research RationaleIndividuals less inhibited online, reflected in ahigher level of self-disclosure (Aiken & Waller,2009) 5
    6. Negative Content?Expressing opinions may result in User GeneratedContent (UGC), both negative and positiveComputer mediated communication (CMC) has thepotential to be more negative and offensive (Postmes &Spears, 1998).Desirable for these discussions to remain civic and withinacceptable societal norms of decency 6
    7. FlamingFlaming defined as “displaying hostility by insulting,swearing or using otherwise offensive language” (Moor, Heuvelman, & Verleur, 2010, p. 1)Moor et al. (2010) revealed that most participants viewed thatthere was regular flaming on YouTube 7
    8. Data CollectionData gathering for nine environmental group channels onYouTube25 random videos from each channel 8
    9. Environmental Groups Selected1. Greenpeace International2. Greenpeace USA3. Greenpeace UK4. WWF5. WWF-USA6. WWF-UK7. National Wildlife Federation8. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)9. National Sierra Club 9
    10. Data GatheringUser comments downloaded and codedVideo Likes, Dislikes, Description, Views etc. alsoobtained for each videoTotal comments after data cleaning = 1384 10
    11. Comment ClassificationsAppreciation – love, change, beautiful, brilliant, awesome, proud,cool, fantastic, majestic, good, hope, respect, incredible, marvel, thumbsup, favorite, use, great, touch, thank, nice, heart, amazing, wow, bravoCriticism – dislike, against, evil, bad, ugly, hate, retard, notFlaming – f…, fcuk, f**k, douchebag, p***, porn, wtf…..etc.Spam – ___Eruhfeuhf+++++####******* 11
    12. Appreciative Comments 12
    13. ChallengesCategorization – Appreciative or flaming?“Shut up!” – Criticism“Shut down the coal plant” – Appreciative comment for avideo arguing in favor of closing down a coal plant. 13
    14. Theoretical DimensionsWalther et al (2010) – Identifying with peers who arevisually anonymous, there is susceptibility to socialinfluence from that groupThe Social Identity model of DeindividuationEffects (SIDE) is a theory that helps understand the socialeffects of CMC—effects of anonymity and identifiability onthe behavior of groups(Reicher, Spears, & Postmes,1995) 14
    15. Theoretical DimensionsReicher, Spears and Postmes (1995) shed light on aphenomenon in CMC in which extreme polarization wasnoted in the commentsSuch polarizations reflect in-group social identityformations 15
    16. AnonymityWhile citing Kiesler, Siegel, & Mcguire (1984), it wasargued that:―anonymity and immersion in the medium, produce the classicdeindividuating conditions of reduced self-awareness anddisinhibition, leading to the expression of more extremearguments‖ (Reicher et al., 1995, p. 181) 16
    17. RQ-1RQ1 – Do we observe excessive flaming behavior onYouTube video comments (where users postanonymously) ? This research did show that appreciative comments outnumbered flaming based comments which were only 7.1% of the total comments (98/1378). 17
    18. Flaming behaviorMost flames were unrelated to the topic of the videoMore of an effort to derail any discussion and vent angerSupported by previous research into flaming (Aiken &Waller, 1999) 18
    19. Comments1000900 863800700600500400300 252200 176 93100 0 Appreciation Criticism Flaming Spam 19
    20. RQ-2RQ2: Is flaming necessarily a phenomena emerging dueto anonymity. If flaming is an issue arising out of anonymity, than is it true to assume that appreciative comments mostly emerge from users who are non-anonymous? 20
    21. Anonymity does play a major role in flamingbehavior on environmental content on YouTubeAll flaming comments from anonymoususers, zero from non-anonymous users! 21
    22. Anonymity was dominant 22
    23. Other Interesting Observations 23
    24. Views & Likes 24
    25. Videos that attracted most comments It all comes back to you! 51 These beluga whales face extinction 67Pierce Brosnan Speaks Out Against Icelands Illegal Whaling 69 40 years 141 The world is where we live 158 Astonish Me - a short film for WWF 62 Robert Redford: THANK YOU President Obama 384 Earth Hour 2011 Official video 169 VW Dark Side: Stormtroopers invade London 99 The Tuna Industrys Dirty Little Secret 164 25
    26. Videos that attracted most commentsMessage involving politicsVideos having a wider appeal in the public (e.g. Earthhour)Active campaigning, compelling videos directly referring toa company/institution 26
    27. Conclusion 27
    28. Designing for AnonymityIn the gaming world, for players of massively multiplayer onlinerole-playing games (MMORPGs) anonymity leads to a reductionin self-awareness and this serves as a motivating factor in gameplaying (Foo & Koivisto, 2004)A study by Choi and Haque (2002) found anonymity to be amotivating factor for Internet useAnonymity afforded by the Internet promotes democraticcommunication especially when participants are anonymous;and motivates individuals to speak freely (Ryan, 1995) 28
    29. Promoting democratic communicationPolitics related videos attract greater comments incomparison with environmental videosAnonymity promotes an open discussion 29
    30. Thank You ! 30

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