Stance Taking in Social Media: the Analysis of the Comments About Us Presidential Candidates on Facebook and Twitter
Roma Kriaučiūnienė
Vilnius University
Jefferey La Roux
Vilnius University
Miglė Lauciūtė
Vilnius University
Published 2018-12-20


stance taking
affective stance
social networks
online interaction
multimodal means

How to Cite

Kriaučiūnienė R., La Roux J. and Lauciūtė M. (2018) “Stance Taking in Social Media: the Analysis of the Comments About Us Presidential Candidates on Facebook and Twitter”, Verbum, 90, pp. 21-30. doi: 10.15388/Verb.2018.3.


[full article and abstract in English]

The subject of the paper is the analysis of the expression of stance taking in an online environment, mainly in the comments of users of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter about the presidential candidates of the American Presidential Election in 2016. The empirical data analysis was carried out following the ideas of J. W. Du Bois (2007), D. Barton & C. Lee (2013) and R. Englebretson (2007) on stance taking and J. W. Du Bois’ (2007) model of stance triangle, i.e. grouping instances of stance-taking into one of these groups: evaluation, affect or epistemicity, which served as the main framework of this study. The work of linguists D. Barton & C. Lee (2013) on the expression of stance-taking in an online environment were also taken into consideration.

Having in mind the fact that stance identification is a challenging task , i.e. it could be implicitly as well as explicitly expressed and that it should be inferred from different modes of its expression and interpreted with reference to many contextual and intertextual factors, in the current analysis the authors focused on interpretation of linguistic as well as other multimodal means of the expression of stance that were used by users of social networks in their writing spaces on the topic of the Presidential Election in the United States in 2016. It should also be mentioned that the analysis presented in this article offers only one of the many possible interpretations of the data. Moreover, the current paper concentrates mainly on the presentation of the empirical data of the expression of affective stance. However, it should be indicated that in some cases stance types overlap, i.e. one instance could be treated as both taking an affective and an evaluative stance, as judgements and evaluation (i.e. evaluative stance) are often based on feelings (i.e. affective stance).

The main source of the empirical data were the instances of stance taking taken from comments found on Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s verified Facebook and Twitter pages during their presidential campaigns in 2016. All in all, 147 examples of posts and comments from the social networks Facebook and Twitter were collected: 72 comments incorporating stance taking on Donald Trump‘s posts, and 75 comments including stance taking on Hillary Clinton‘s posts. The results of the empirical data analysis showed that the affective stance was expressed by linguistic as well as multimodal means.

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