Online community and groups often experience heated discussion. This paper examines a WeChat group discussion from the perspective of majority and minority influence to explore the evolvement of the discussion and the be-haviors of group members. Content analysis of 515 messages suggests that opin- ion conflicts between majority and minority evoke discussion engagement and knowledge exchange. There are different patterns of knowledge construction expressions between majority and minority groups. The majority prefer egocentric expression, while the minority prefer allocentric expression. Majority opinion holders have different conflict handling styles compared to minority opinion holders, who are more likely to avoid. Minority group is under great pressure in social interaction, they are easier to receive unfair comments and personal attacks.
Online platforms provide a public sphere for discussion, debate, and deliberation among citizens. The engagement of online deliberation enables participants to exchange viewpoints and form communities. This paper aims to explore the influencing factors on engagement level of online deliberation by examining the relationship between an initial post’s content features and length and the engagement of the discussion thread it initiates. We sampled 254 discussion threads with 254 initial posts and 2934 following posts and conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis of the posts. Findings show that initial posts which are longer and allocentric (as opposed to egocentric) would evoke longer following posts in a discussion. Different content type (social interaction, claim, argument) of initial posts would lead to significant different engagement, arguments would trigger higher level engagement (average posts per participant and average length of posts in discussions). Whether an initial post holds a clear position has no significant impact on discussion engagement. These findings contribute to a deeper understanding of online deliberation and its engagement and can be useful in promoting engagements in online deliberation.
Emojis have become more and more popular in text-based online communication to express emotions. This indicates a potential to utilize emojis in sentiment analysis and emotion measurements. However, many factors could affect people’s emoji usage and need to be examined. Among them, age, gender, and relationship types may result in different interpretations of the same emoji due to the ambiguity of the iconic expression. In this paper, we aim to explore how these factors may affect the frequency, type, and sentiment of people’s emoji usage in communications. After analyzing 6,821 Wechat chatting messages from 158 participants, we found people between 26–35 had lowest frequency of emoji usage; younger and elder groups showed different sentiment levels for the same emojis; people chose emoji types based on relationships. These findings shed light on how people use emojis as a communication tool.