Voice in online social relations

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Voice is an important component of discourse that provides insights into the social relations and interactions of participants in online contexts. Voice is conceptualised in this study as human communication through a range of actions that include speaking, writing and sharing, components of discourse used when interacting with others in mediated spaces and within a broader context of public relations practice. While considerable attention in communication scholarship is focused on voice, as an important form of social capital, minimal attention is paid to voice within social media. Participants’ tone of voice and social languages are instrumental in conveying online identities to others and in helping participants assess who they choose to interact with online. This research investigated the online participant voices within an Australian Government campaign about binge drinking. This study investigated voice as one of the cues participants used in conveying identities to others with whom they chose to socialise with online. Discourse analysis (Gee 2014) was used to explore the participant voices within the campaign and how voice proved instrumental in establishing and maintaining social connections in virtual contexts. The study shows voice as have multiple functions online; giving life to our social interactions, informing our preferencing decisions and facilitating our social connectedness to others online. An understanding voice, as one component of online discourse, is important in understanding the preferencing decisions of participants in determining who they connect with online around relevant social issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRefereed proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand communication association conference 2017
Subtitle of host publicationCommunication worlds: access, voice, diversity, engagement
EditorsFiona Martin
PublisherAustralian and New Zealand Communication Association
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) 2017 Annual Conference - University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 04 Jul 201707 Jul 2017
https://anzca.org/conference-event/anzca-conference-2017/ (Conference website )
https://web.archive.org/web/20200311022119/https://www.anzca.net/conferences/past-conferences/2017-conf.html (Conference website)


ConferenceAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) 2017 Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleCommunication worlds: Access, voice, diversity, engagement
OtherThe conference invited reflections on the worlds of communication we inhabit, create and reshape – from ancient, modern and future communication worlds through to colonial and postcolonial worlds, activist and start-up worlds, ecologies, ecosystems and environments.

As we can see from our various encounters with the internet and social media across the globe, different types of ‘worlding’ enable and/or inhibit our access to, voice, participation in and engagement with media and communication spheres. With these four concepts in mind, ANZCA 2017 sought to explore who has access to our symbolic worlds and who is excluded from them; what knowledges, skills, resources and strategies enable us to enter these worlds; and what forms of presence these environments support, as well as what absences they suggest. Our second theme explored the concepts of voice and listening – who decides, on what terms and with what consequences, when people are given platforms to speak? How and in what contexts are they heard? Media diversity was a third theme, inviting accounts of how we might reimagine communication worlds, policies, practices and platforms for the more effective expression of cultural diversity. Engagement, our final theme asked colleagues how we might invite and recruit people to communicate in our worlds, and how we might we gauge the depth, breadth or scope of their interests, responses and contributions.
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