Patterns of online behaviour in the United Kingdom and Japan: Insights based on asynchronous online conversations

Milen Martchev


This comparative study examines aspects of online behaviour exhibited by participants in online discussion groups in the United Kingdom and Japan. The primary data consists of message board threads gathered from U.K. and Japanese Internet forum sites with the analysis focusing on hyperlinks contained in the forum messages as well as dates and times of posting extracted from the message heads. A 'reading' of hyperlinks is undertaken through consulting N-gram frequencies obtained from each data set, juxtaposed and compared with the help of a coefficient of difference and the chi-square test. Contrasts in Internet surfing patterns, information-gathering preferences, and references to video, audio, pictorial and sexual content are examined; post times are used to compare daily and weekly patterns of posting activity between the two countries. This study also provides an overview of the uses that N-grams have in natural language processing and argues for their analytical potential in sociolinguistic and CMC-related research.


Internet Forums; Hyperlinks; Time Patterns; N-grams; Internet Surfing

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