Lim, Y., & Lee-Won, R. J. (2017). When retweets persuade: The persuasive effects of dialogic retweeting and the role of social presence in organizations’ Twitter-based communication. Telematics and Informatics, 34(5), 422-433. doi:10.1016/j.tele.2016.09.003

Abstract: Research has shown that organizations tend to use Twitter primarily in a one-way, monologic manner and fall short of using the platform’s technological affordances to engage the public in dialogue. At the same time, relatively little research has addressed the specific persuasive outcomes that organizations could accrue by using Twitter to communicate with the public in a more dialogic way. We investigated the persuasive effect of an organization’s dialogic retweeting (conceptualized as retweeting of user mentions addressed to the organization) by drawing on the concept of social presence and the theory of reasoned action. In an online experiment conducted with an adult sample of U.S. Twitter users, participants were randomly assigned to view either a fictitious organization’s dialogic retweets or the same organization’s monologic tweets of identical content. We found that the dialogic retweets, when compared to the monologic tweets from the organization, induced a higher level of social presence, which, in turn, led to a higher level of subjective norms, more favorable attitudes toward the behavior advocated by the organization in the messages, and greater intention to adopt the behavior. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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