The Pope of YouTube: A Case Study of Dynamic Metaphor Use in Asynchronous Internet Communication

Pihlaja, Stephen (2009). The Pope of YouTube: A Case Study of Dynamic Metaphor Use in Asynchronous Internet Communication. MRes thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f23a

Abstract

Research into computer-mediated communication has recently focused on large quantitative analysis of CMC text rather than close analysis of full discourse acts in online environments. Using a discourse dynamics, metaphor-led analysis, this dissertation investigates the dynamic use of metaphor in three YouTube videos made by two American YouTube users: one a fundamentalist Christian and one an atheist. The focus of the analysis was on how metaphor was produced dynamically in the interaction between the users and how the use of metaphor could be seen at different levels of the YouTube video page, including in the title of the videos, the video, the description boxes, the comments, and subsequent video responses. Analysis showed that metaphor was used at every level of the discourse event and that dynamic production of metaphor in response to other users was seen, especially in discussing the positions and roles of the users in relation to each other and the larger YouTube ‘community. ’ Analysis also showed that metaphor was used to not only position other users, but that understanding of specific metaphors seemed to differ depending on who was producing and interpreting a given metaphor.

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