Powerful Communication Style on Twitter: Effects on Credibility and Civic Participation = Estilo comunicativo súbito en Twitter: efectos sobre la credibilidad y la participación cívica

Alvídrez, Salvador and Franco-Rodríguez, Oziel Powerful Communication Style on Twitter: Effects on Credibility and Civic Participation = Estilo comunicativo súbito en Twitter: efectos sobre la credibilidad y la participación cívica. Comunicar, 2016, vol. 24, n. 47, pp. 89-97. [Journal article (Paginated)]

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Alternative locations: http://dx.doi.org/10.3916/C47-2016-09

English abstract

The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of two linguistic styles used in Twitter messages on engaging users in civic participation activities, understood as participation by citizens in community improvement actions. Using a socio-linguistic approach, an experimental intervention was carried out in which 324 university students evaluated the messages posted by the head of an environmental NGO on Twitter. The gender of the NGO head (male vs. female) and the linguistic style used for the posts were manipulated in terms of a «powerful» (e.g., assertive, direct) or «powerless» style (e.g., indirect, ambiguous). The gender of the evaluators was also manipulated in order to analyze potential differences among the overall impressions and evaluations between men and women. The results showed that «male» and «female» versions of the NGO head were perceived as more credible when they used a powerful as opposed to a powerless linguistic style. This effect was observed irrespective of the evaluator’s gender. Moreover, the test for indirect effects suggested that credibility mediated the relationship between a powerful style and the likelihood of engaging users to participate in the NGO’s agenda. The results are discussed in terms of the relevance of this type of communication for promoting civic participation in social media.

Spanish abstract

El presente trabajo tuvo como propósito examinar el efecto de dos estilos lingüísticos en mensajes de Twitter sobre su capacidad de atraer e involucrar a usuarios en actividades de participación cívica, entendida esta como la participación de ciudadanos en acciones de mejora comunitaria. A partir de una aproximación sociolingüística, se realizó un estudio experimental en el que 324 estudiantes universitarios evaluaron los mensajes publicados por el líder de una ONG medioambiental en su página de Twitter. Se manipuló el género del líder de la ONG (hombre o mujer) y el estilo lingüístico empleado en la redacción de los mensajes en términos de un estilo «súbito» (ejemplo: asertivo, directo) o un estilo «dócil» (ejemplo: indirecto, ambiguo). El género de los evaluadores también fue manipulado con el fin de analizar diferencias potenciales en las impresiones y evaluaciones de hombres y mujeres. Los resultados mostraron que cuando los líderes «hombre» y «mujer» emplearon un estilo lingüístico súbito en sus mensajes fueron percibidos como más creíbles sin importar el género de los evaluadores. Además, el análisis de efectos indirectos registró que la credibilidad percibida hacia el líder medió la relación entre el estilo súbito y la probabilidad de que los seguidores se involucren en las iniciativas de la ONG. Los resultados son discutidos en términos de la relevancia de este tipo de comunicación para la participación cívica en las redes sociales.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: social media, civic participation, linguistic style, gender, credibility, Twitter, NGO, environmental protection, redes sociales, participación cívica, estilo lingüístico, género, credibilidad, Twitter, ONG, protección del medio ambiente
Subjects: B. Information use and sociology of information > BJ. Communication
G. Industry, profession and education.
G. Industry, profession and education. > GH. Education.
Depositing user: Alex Ruiz
Date deposited: 01 Aug 2016 13:19
Last modified: 02 Aug 2016 07:23
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10760/29607

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