Subcultures in the online wilderness
Social media data is an abundant source of insight into subcultures, however traditional approaches to classifying subcultures (such as class and demographics) are limited in their applicability online. This study uses appraisal to analyse Facebook comments in public discussions to identify and understand subcultures. It focuses on a contentious issue in Australian society, the culling of kangaroos. The findings are consistent with existing theories about wildlife attitudes and subcultures, two main groups were identified, referred to here as Cullers, who favour culling, and Guardians, who oppose culling. It supports previous research assertions that attitudes and values are central to the development of subcultures. Appraisal adds insight into complexity and contradictions within the two main groups, revealing various emphasis on economic, environmental, and rights positions, and points to future research using appraisal on 'sub-subcultures'.