Different Dimensions of Communicative Exchanges in Online Political Talk: Measuring Reciprocity Through Structures, Behaviors, and Discourses

Tariq Choucair, Rousiley C. M. Maia


Reciprocity, a foundational feature to ensure the quality of communicative exchanges, is a subject of extensive investigation in empirical research. However, the absence of a singular and precise conceptualization has resulted in diverse operationalizations across studies. This article identifies and categorizes three distinct approaches to understand and measure reciprocity in online political discourse: (1) by examining interactional structures within discussions, (2) by analyzing users’ communicative behaviors, and (3) by exploring the discourses expressed by users. Each form of conceptualization evokes different measurement strategies. By unpacking these components and systematizing the three types, this article offers an integrative analytical framework. To illustrate this possibility, we investigate discussions on Facebook about abortion in Brazil between 2013 and 2019. Our findings emphasize the significance of each dimension and underscore how the absence of one may lead to misdiagnoses regarding the level of reciprocity within a discussion. This nuanced understanding of reciprocity has crucial implications for researchers aiming to navigate the intricacies of online political discourse, facilitating a deeper comprehension of variations in listening and mutual communicative exchange dynamics.


reciprocity, interactivity, political talk, online debates, mixed methods

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