Research Question # 3
How did forum participants express behavior interaction in relation
to the Muslim cultural thematic presented by the telenovela “El
By definition, the parasocial sub-dimension behavioral interaction
is considered when the audiences overtly interact with the characters,
or when the audiences talk among themselves about the character,
or think about the program when it is over. In the qualitative analysis
of the messages in this research, the messages are also categorized
as behavioral interaction if they express or reflect the poster
behavior besides participating in the forum. Messages that demonstrate
behaviors such as posting articles, or reporting buying books, enrolling
in classes, etc., are all coded in this category. Taking into account
that behavioral interaction might be considered when audiences talk
among themselves about a character, or in the case of this study,
when they also discuss the telenovela cultural thematic or think
about the program when it is over, most of the messages qualify
for this classification. The fact that the context in which the
study takes place is a message board where participants exchange
ideas, opinions, and questions, implies that a behavioral interaction
is already taking place. In keeping with the notion that the messages
reflect overlapping sub-dimensions, the messages that are classified
as behavioral interaction show a strong component of behavior, even
though, by definition, all of them would fit into this category.
Of the 310 messages analyzed 8% (25) are qualified as demonstrating
In the following example, the message writer posts an article in
hopes that it would clarify a discussion:
Re: A: Why women convert to Islam
Wow. good question. The thing is female converts to Islam find LIBERATION
in the religion, they don't see it as jumping into a religion w/
restrictions. half of the restrictions you see in El Clon by the
way is NOT Islam at all. Like the traveling thing doesn't have anything
to do w/ Islam.
And there are many female converts, not just a handful.
I'm not a convert, so I can't explain it to you that thoroughly.
BUT Here's an article that a convert wrote: Read it.
When I Covered My Head I Opened My Mind
(by Shariffa Carlo)
The article is not included in this example. However, the message
reflects the idea that the writer not only ponders the subject,
but also searches and finds an article that helps the discussion
since the writer does not feel qualified to answer the question
from her own experience. As seen previously, a social learning environment
is one where the participants share their stories, even though the
post does not share her story, she brings another person’s
account to raise consciousness about the issue that is discussed.
The messages are a reflection of the posters’s reaction not
only to the telenovela’s characters but also to the discussions
of Muslim representation in “El Clon”. In the following
article, the poster demonstrates behavioral interaction when calling
a friend in an attempt to clarify the depiction of Muslims in the
Re: Innacurate dipictions of Muslims en El Clon
That is what occurred with Said and Jade during her Nikah she replied
that she would marry him. And this is their third divorce and they
were told this would be their final divorce ...so I guess according
to what you wrote the program did not do it correctly.
Thanks for the information. I find myself calling my friend
(who is Sunni) to ask questions about whether the things that take
place are true. I sometimes wondered if the way the women or the
religion was portrayed offended some of the Muslim fans of the show.
Thanks for enlightening us!!
This message also demonstrates the multilayer construct of the model.
While it is appreciate the sub-dimension cognitive interaction,
the message is expressing reflection about a character’s behavior
it is also possible to discern critical involvement, since the writer
did not take the novela’s portrayal as representation of truth,
but searched for other forms of information to clarify her doubts.
However, the act of calling the friend to ask questions about the
novela demonstrates self efficacy and empowerment, the writer is
able to go a step further than just reflecting about the issue,
and searches for a different source of knowledge, which embraces
the idea that action and reflection equates praxis.