Daniela Cesiri Ca’ Foscari University of Venice “‘Haha, what a twit I am’. The construction of a social identity in the comments sections of UK food blogs.”
This study examines the comments sections of a group of UK food blogs to investigatehow bloggers shape their ‘social identity’ in direct interaction with the users. The bloggers’ comments are analysed in view of Goffman’s (1959) theory of society as a stage to see whether the food bloggers show their ‘self‑as‑performer’ (the real person) or their ‘self‑as‑character’ (a constructed persona). Moreover, the study uses Herring’s (2004) criteria to understand if food blogs can be classified as virtual communities. Then, a qualitative analysis of instances of positive/negative politeness in the comments sections of the blogs aims at investigating the reactions to praise or criticism from the users. The application of politeness theory shows to what extent the blogger-user interaction is influenced by the users’ perception of belonging to a (virtual) community.