On Behavioural Responses and Different Shades of Flaming in Social Media and Computer Mediated Communication

On Behavioural Responses and Different Shades of Flaming in Social Media and Computer Mediated Communication

Ruchi Verma (Jaypee University of Information Technology, Waknaghat, India), Nitin Nitin (Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, Noida, India) and Amit Srivastava (Jaypee University of Information Technology, Waknaghat, India)
DOI: 10.4018/IJHCITP.2016100103


Computer mediated communication has connected the globe in such a way that today the whole world connects with a common thread. It has broken all cultural, social, religious and geographic barriers bringing the world at a zero distance level. Unfortunately, among its innumerable advantages, online communication has developed a darker side to it called flaming. With the freedom that online communication offers, the users have started infiltrating conversation with hostile and offensive exchange of words. Due to the absence of face to face interaction, there are various factors such as anonymity, lack of familiarity, absence of social cordiality and etiquettes that promote flaming. This study takes a look at the social context in which flaming occurs. This paper involves a study conducted on one subject in a confined environment. It focuses on the flaming tendencies and patterns. An effort is done to analyze the factors that affect flaming. The response of the online users on current and controversial issues is recorded. It is generally the sensitive issues that attract flaming. Also non met friends have a tendency to shed their inhibitions and involve blatantly in flaming. Another observation is that the male gender has more inclination towards flaming and involves more in contemptuous comments. The Probit Model is used to analyze the recorded responses and draw the conclusions.
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Flaming is defined as hostile communication between the internet users. Though the immense benefits of computer mediated communication cannot be denied but at times such volatile expression results in incivility which falls short of a seasoned conversation. Due to the absence of face to face interaction, online communication often involves some assumptions and motives of the user which result in unfavorable dialogue. There is lack of individual concern for social evaluation and sanction. There is back and forth interaction among the users whose personal perceptions and unbridled opinions are expressed without any consideration of the interests of others. Deliberate flaming results from discussions getting emotional on topics that are controversial. In today’s digital age, Web 2.0 is the way of communication on the Internet. Communication has taken on a new role of knowledge exchange. The successful and unsuccessful cases of informal learning in training processes on the Social Web Platforms are a fertile area of study for the editors (Garcia-Penalvo, Colomo-Palacios & Lytras, 2012). A Web 2.0 tool IM-TAG, based on semantic technologies is used for informal mentoring. This tool records the personal competencies of the mentee and recommends the mentoring content and opinion tagging. (Colomo- Palacios et.al., 2014) These discussions get heated and result in angry exchange of words. Flaming is total nonconformity to perceived norms, conventions and tenets of communications. “Discussions over the internet can also take an uncivil route, with offensive comments or replies impeding the democratic ideal of healthy heated discussion (Papacharissi, 2004; Shils, 1992). An online discussion starts in a rational manner, people start expressing their viewpoints, rising in difference of opinion but that unfortunately results in polarized opinions among difference audience segments. Different opinions result in hot exchange of words, hostile messages and uncivil behavior due to which the basic thread of conversation gets fizzled. This gives opportunity to that strata of online users whose intent is mischievous and only goal is to indulge in flaming and distract the normal mode of discussion.

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