Abstract: As a vital technique in preparing for an effective communication, in correcting ongoing communication glitches, and in remedying problems encountered by the participants in previous interactions, metacommunication has been intensively investigated in various types of discourses. However, there is still a dearth of research on metacommunication in computer-mediated genres of political discussions; and the potential for enhancing online political deliberation remains largely untapped by political agents in many countries. The article deals with several types of metacommunicative remarks employed to facilitate communication exchanges in political weblogs and webchats. These metacommunicative comments are generated by political agents who blog / take part in live chat sessions, and by members of the public who post comments on the politicians’ blogs or participate in online discussions with the politicians. Three categories of the metacommunicative comments are analysed: (i) those performing prospective metacommunicative coordination, (ii) metacommunicative comments that regulate ongoing interactions and (iii) metacommunicative remarks that serve to expose and correct previous discursive organizational issues. In addition, some parallels are drawn between metacommunicative comments employed in online genres of political communication and those generated by political agents in such traditional offline genres as parliamentary question-answer sessions and political interviews. Besides, a few cross-cultural observations in the application of metacommunicative remarks online are discussed.
Keywords: metacommunication, metacommunicative comments, metacommunicative coordination, political blogs and webchats, British, German and Russian computer-mediated political discourse.
Rhetoric and Communications E-journal, Issue 2, December 2011, http://rhetoric.bg/, ISSN 1314-4464