February 5, 2014

He votes or she votes? Female and male discursive strategies in twitter political hashtags.

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He votes or she votes? Female and male discursive strategies in twitter political hashtags.

PLoS One. 2014;9(1):e87041

Authors: Cunha E, Magno G, Gonçalves MA, Cambraia C, Almeida V

Abstract
In this paper, we conduct a study about differences between female and male discursive strategies when posting in the microblogging service Twitter, with a particular focus on the hashtag designation process during political debate. The fact that men and women use language in distinct ways, reverberating practices linked to their expected roles in the social groups, is a linguistic phenomenon known to happen in several cultures and that can now be studied on the Web and on online social networks in a large scale enabled by computing power. Here, for instance, after analyzing tweets with political content posted during Brazilian presidential campaign,we found out that male Twitter users, when expressing their attitude toward a given candidate, are more prone to use imperative verbal forms in hashtags, while female users tend to employ declarative forms. This difference can be interpreted as a sign of distinct approaches in relation to other network members: for example, if political hashtags are seen as strategies of persuasion in Twitter, imperative tags could be understood as more overt ways of persuading and declarative tags as more indirect ones. Our findings help to understand human gendered behavior in social networks and contribute to research on the new fields of computer-enabled Internet linguistics and social computing, besides being useful for several computational tasks such as developing tag recommendation systems based on users' collective preferences and tailoring targeted advertising strategies, among others.

PMID: 24489832 [PubMed - in process]

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