Is Facebook actually making communication about products and brands more interesting?

Jul 26, 2013

Communication channels such as Facebook may be leading consumers to discuss more interesting products, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Whereas oral communication tends to be instantaneous (one person says something and then another responds almost immediately), written conversations tend to have longer gaps ( respond to e-mails, texts, or Facebook messages hours or days later). Rather than saying whatever comes to mind, consumers can take the time to think about what to say or edit their communication until it is polished," write authors Jonah Berger and Raghuram Iyengar (both Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania).

New technologies have dramatically changed how we communicate. Instead of talking face-to-face or over the phone, consumers can now e-mail, text, , or message back and forth on Facebook.

In one study, asking consumers to communicate via written rather than oral communication (or merely asking consumers to pause before speaking) led them to talk about more interesting products and brands. The authors also analyzed data from tens of thousands of conversations and found that more interesting products and brands (Apple) are discussed more than mundane products (Windex) in online communication.

Written communication gives consumers more time to construct and refine what they say. As a result, consumers mention more interesting products and brands (Google Glass rather than Colgate toothpaste) compared to oral communication.

"Consumers have a natural tendency to talk about things that make them look good. But selecting the right thing to say requires time. In oral communication, consumers talk about whatever is top-of-mind (the weather), but written communication gives them the opportunity to select more interesting things to say," the authors conclude.

Explore further: Online reviewers: Yes, they're compensating for something (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Is the iPad Creative? It depends on who's buying it

Mar 05, 2013

Encouraging consumers to feel ownership of products they haven't yet purchased can backfire because consumers tend to see themselves in the products they own, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Shoppers love copycats, research finds

Jul 12, 2013

(Phys.org) —As the Apple and Samsung legal battle rumbles on new research suggests that the consumer is the biggest winner in the 'copycat' branding war.

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I's government came up with a series of measures to deter "divers evil persons" ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...