That Is So Gross and I Have to Post About It: Exemplification Effects and User Comments on a News St...
|Authors and Corporations:||, , , ,|
Patric R. Spence
|Media Type:||Article, E-Article|
Exemplification is a term referencing the use of emotional and arousing messages or images to elicit responses based on impression formation. A variety of research has demonstrated that exemplification has an impact on perceptions of events, individuals, and organizations. Less is known, however, about how exemplification processes manifest in user comments after news stories. The current study examines this question in terms of an emergent aspect of computer-mediated communication: the ability of users to comment on news stories. Specifically, this study investigates how exemplified accounts in user comments to a news story may influence audience perceptions. Respondents reported their perceptions of threat severity, susceptibility, behavioral intentions, and perceptions of organizational reputation after viewing different manipulations of a news story. The findings are consistent with Exemplification Theory and indicate that user-generated comments can influence exemplification effects. Results are discussed in terms of implications for public relations and crisis communication.