Edited by María Elena Placencia and Zohreh R. Eslami
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 313] 2020
Chapter 8. The interpersonal effects of complimenting others and self-praise in online health settings
This article investigates the pragmatic functions of complimenting and self-praise in two UK social media forums about smoking cessation, and responses to these speech acts. We compare these insights with other related e-health contexts (advice column, anti-smoking websites). Adopting an interpersonal pragmatics perspective, we focus on how these speech acts are employed for relationship creation. Our findings suggest that complimenting and self-praise are pivotal discourse practices in the forums. The status of the posting quitter – as new, or as successfully quitting – appears to affect the topic of compliments, the functions of third-party compliments and the order in which it is acceptable for initial posters to use self-praise; additional interpersonal effects relate to the overarching purpose of improving one’s lifestyle. In comparison to the peer-to-peer forum context, we find the number of compliments drastically reduced in the professional e-health contexts, which may be attributed to the set-up of practices. This paper adds to previous studies by exploring complimenting and self-praise in (e-health) social media.