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Tuija VIRTANEN (Åbo Akademi University, Finland) :
"Genre and interaction in online consumer reviews of books"
Online consumer reviews constitute a non-trivial part of many people’s everyday lives. As readers of reviews turn into writers, they adopt the double role of consuming and producing content. They share ‘ordinary expertise’ on public sites in view of imagined audiences, as part of the attention economy of the commercial online environment. In this talk, I will explore written online consumer reviews of books, approaching them from the perspectives of genre dynamics and users’ interactional efforts. I will raise the issue of (i) whether such texts represent a (sub)genre in its own right, created, maintained or altered as users engage in social action, or (ii) whether consumer reviewing might rather be interpreted as a digital mode that may turn into a nexus of online and offline genres. Investigating major lexical and structural routines manifest in the data, I will discuss users’ constructions of reviewer personae, credentials for the review, as well as their audience design in the a priori non-reciprocal discourse.