Published on September 18th, 2013

“Like.” Not only is it an indelible component of casual sentence structure, the term also governs how we respond to everything from news articles to comments from our closest friends on Facebook. This finding is part of a report released today that gives news organizations recommendations for engaging online audiences in new ways.

A heartwarming story about a local hero? “Like!” But “Like” doesn’t always seem appropriate. A fair, but counter-attitudinal, post in a comment section? It’s challenging to press “Like.” What if news stations used other buttons? What if, instead of “Like,” one could click “Respect”?

These word choices are consequential. And, the “Respect” button has both business and democratic implications. From a business angle, respondents seeing a “Respect” button clicked on more comments in a comment section. From a democratic angle, respondents seeing a “Respect” button clicked on more comments from another political perspective in comparison to the “Recommend” or “Like” buttons.

Academic Presentations

Stroud, N. J., Muddiman, A., & Scacco, J. (2013, November). Framing comments in social media. Paper to be presented at the National Communication Association, Political Communication Division, Washington DC.


  • Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud

    Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud

    Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is the founding and current Director of the Center for Media Engagement and Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Her book, Niche News: The Politics of News Choice, received the Outstanding Book Award from the International Communication Association, and inspired the early development of the Center. Her research examines the use and effects of political news content.

  • Ashley Muddiman

    Ashley Muddiman
    Faculty Research Associate

    Ashley Muddiman (PhD, University of Texas at Austin) is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies department at the University of Kansas. Ashley is broadly interested in political media effects and specifically interested in political conflict and incivility. Her current research projects study the role media coverage plays in shaping citizens’ perceptions of political incivility, explore how citizens interact with online news depicting incivility, and investigate tactics, such as fact checking, that have the potential to diminish the effects of incivility.

  • Joshua Scacco

    Joshua Scacco
    Faculty Research Associate

    Joshua M. Scacco (PhD, The University of Texas at Austin) is an Assistant Professor of Media Theory & Politics in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. He also serves as a Research Associate for the Center for Media Engagement (CME). He is interested broadly in the communicative role elites and organizations, including political leaders, journalists, and news outlets, play in American political life.