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Reading a Blog When Empowered to Comment: Posting, Lurking, and Non-Interactive Reading


Discourse Processes: A Multidisciplinary Journal Volume 52, Number 5, ISSN 0163-853X


How do readers who are able to post responses on a political blog ("interactive readers") differ in their navigation and comprehension from "noninteractive" readers who are not empowered to post? In this study, a nonpartisan political blog was populated with news content about the then-upcoming 2012 U.S. presidential election. Seventy participants recruited from the Internet were randomly assigned to be either interactive or noninteractive readers. The ability to post affected readers' navigation of the site and comprehension of the news content on the blog: Interactive readers spent significantly longer on the site and performed significantly better on an inference verification task than noninteractive readers. A second set of analyses compared lurkers (those who are able to post but do not) with the posters and readers. Lurkers' navigation and comprehension were more similar to the noninteractive readers' but were not identical; lurkers performed better on the inference task than noninteractive readers. The findings suggest that the increasing trend for websites to enable posted responses may benefit not only readers' engagement but their comprehension as well and that lurkers may comprehend differently from readers who are not empowered to post.


Sankaram, K. & Schober, M.F. (2015). Reading a Blog When Empowered to Comment: Posting, Lurking, and Non-Interactive Reading. Discourse Processes: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 52(5), 406-433. Retrieved September 28, 2023 from .

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