Research and Insights

CJC at the 67th Annual International Communication Association Conference 2017

May  25-29, 2017
San Diego, Calif.

Author: Sylvia M. Chan-Olmsted, Ph.D., Professor – Department of Telecommunication, Director of Media Consumer Research

Co-Authors: Min Xiao, Graduate Student at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications and Lisa-Charlotte Wolter, Hamburg Media School

Abstract: With the growth of media platforms and outlets, we have entered a media landscape characterized by multiplatform consumption, audience fragmentation, user generated content, and complex media planning that involves programmatic targeting as well as the integration of social and legacy media. The multiplicity of today’s media marketplace poses challenges for brand marketers when communicating with their target audiences. “Branded content,” with its focus on understanding the audience, creating something that consumers seek out, and designing engagement opportunities, seems to offer a viable option. Despite the growth of branded content practices, there has been limited research addressing the phenomenon. This study attempts to contribute to the discussion by identifying various constructs that offer explanatory power for the use of branded content from an audience perspective. It also provides conceptual insights by examining how the practice is perceived and linked to the existing marketing communications through a series of expert interviews.

Can a Comment Inspire? The Effects of Online Comments on Elevation and Universal Orientation

Co-Author: Amanda Bailey, Graduate Student at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications

Abstract: Past research on meaningful media has shown that feelings of elevation can foster increased feelings of connection to others due to the affective states that meaningful media elicit. However, what happens when inspiring media are accompanied by cues related to the opinion of others, such as comments? Does the sentiment of readers’ comments moderate the effects of inspiring media or elicit unique effects on elevation-related outcomes? An online experiment was conducted to answer these questions using a 2 (news type: inspiring vs. non-inspiring control) x 3 (comment type: positive vs. negative vs. no comment control) between-subjects design. Results revealed that news articles accompanied by either positive or negative comments elicited lower affective states associated with elevation. Furthermore, positive comments increased universal orientation through the mediating pathway of bandwagon support. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.

Chair: Media Violence, Agression, and Suspense

Can the Crowd Set the Agenda? The Effect of Online Comments on News Credibility and Issue Importance

Abstract: Online comments provide news readers with the unprecedented ability to share their perspective on current events. Often times, these online discussions become negative and uncivil, either criticizing the journalistic credentials of the news outlet or questioning the value of the covered issue. Does the presence of such insidious comments interfere with the reception and traditional functions of news media? If so, what are the possible theoretical mechanism through which such effects occur? An online experiment examined these questions by testing the effect of reader comments (positive vs. negative), number of “re-tweets” and “likes” (low vs. high), and coverage frequency (infrequent vs. frequent) on message credibility and issue importance. Negative reader comments decreased message credibility and issue importance through the downstream effect of bandwagon perceptions on attention and construct accessibility.

How Do Online Comments Persuade News Readers? Testing the Role Played by Bandwagon Perceptions, Exemplification, and Warranting Value

Abstract: Comment sections that accompany online news often digress into hostility between readers, leading to undesired outcomes for news outlets. Why are readers susceptible to the effects of online comments? Are particularly memorable or authentic comments more likely to persuade readers? If so, do such effects occur across multiple types of news? An online experiment examined these questions by testing the effect of reader comments (positive vs. negative vs. no comment control) on news article credibility and issue perceptions. Results revealed that negative comments decreased news and issue perceptions through the mediating pathway of decreased bandwagon support. The effect was particularly strong among comments perceived as vivid and authentic, regardless of the type of news in question.

Abstract: It is now quite common to see the reactions and comments of other viewers while consuming digital media, but do they shape the effects that media content have on us? If so, do the effects of comments vary based on the assumed size or location of the audience? A laboratory experiment was conducted to manipulate the presence of three audience feedback metrics while viewing a violent movie scene: the sentiment of comments (positive vs. negative vs. control), the number of viewers (small vs. large) and the location of the audience (nearby vs. distant). Results show that content accompanied by a large audience (compared to a small audience) increased perceptions of crime frequency and decreased media enjoyment, with subsequent analyses revealing that the effect was mediated, in parallel, by presumed influence and attention. Theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

Author: Stephenson Waters, Graduate Student at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications

Data Mining a ‘Month of Madness’ on Twitter: Analyzing Grief Expression and Slacktivism in the Aftermath of the Orlando, Dallas, and Nice Tragedies

Abstract: Under a self-presentation theory framework while focusing on two aspects of Twitter usage — the expression of grief after a tragedy and the concept known as “slacktivism” — the purpose of this research is to analyze temporal changes in online reactions to mass tragedies. This research will use data mining techniques to examine trends in language use and grief expression to determine if and how online reaction to tragedy changes over time.

Affective Persuasion of Comparative Advertisements: Interplay Between Context-Induced and Ad-Induced Affect

Co-Author: Linwan Wu, University of South Carolina, Columbia

Abstract: Both the advertising context and the advertisement itself are able to eliciting emotional feelings. This study conducted a 2 2 2 between-subjects experiment to investigate the interplay between context-induced and ad-induced affect on the effects of a comparative versus a non-comparative advertisement. The results showed that there were significant three-way interaction effects on participants’ ad and brand attitudes. In the condition of positive context-induced affect, participants preferred the comparative ad to the non-comparative ad when ad-induced affect was positive, but expressed similar responses to both types of ads when ad-induced affect was negative. In the condition of negative context-induced affect, participants expressed more favorable responses to the ad that elicited positive affect. This study is believed to provide both theoretical and practical implications to research of advertising and affective information processing. Directions for future studies are also discussed.