Expressing emotions in blogs: The role of textual paralinguistic cues in online venting and social sharing posts

Carmina Rodríguez-Hidalgo, Ed S.H. Tan, Peeter W.J. Verlegh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Textual paralanguage cues (TPC) have been signaled as effective emotion transmitters online. Though several studies have investigated their properties and occurrence, there remains a gap concerning their communicative impact within specific psychological processes, such as the social sharing of emotion (SSE, Rimé, 2009). This study content-analyzed Live Journal blogposts for the occurrence of TPC in three phases of online SSE: initiation, feedback and repost. We compared these to TPC on a second type of emotional expression, emotional venting. Based on Social Information processing theory (SIP, Walther, 1992), and on the Emotional Mimicry in Context (EMC, Hess & Fischer, 2013) framework, we study predictive relationships in TPC usage in our phased model of online SSE. Results showed that TPC prevailed in SSE blogposts and strongly dominated in emotional venting posts. TPC was more common in affective feedback than cognitive. Moreover, the presence of tactile affective cues (i.e., hugs, kisses) in the initiation post predicted their presence in affective feedback. Results lend support to the idea that TPC are used in socio-contextual ways in online SSE and particularly extrapolate certain FtF nonverbal behaviors, such as the provision of socio-affective touch.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-649
Number of pages12
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Emotional mimicry
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Paralinguistic cues
  • Social networking sites
  • Social sharing of emotion
  • Venting


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