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Digital Media

Transformations in Human Communication

Edited By Paul Messaris and Lee Humphreys

The age of digital media has given rise to a new social world. It is a world in which the transmission of information from the few to the many is steadily being supplanted by the multi-directional flow of facts, lies, and ideas. It is a world in which hundreds of millions of people are voluntarily depositing large amounts of personal details in publicly accessible databases. It is a world in which interpersonal relationships are increasingly being conducted in the virtual sphere. Above all, this is a world that seems to be veering off in unpredictable ways from the trends of the immediate past. This book is a probing examination of that world, and of the changes that it has ushered into our lives.

In more than thirty essays by a wide range of scholars, this must-have second edition examines the impact of digital media in six areas – information, persuasion, community, gender and sexuality, surveillance and privacy, and cross-cultural communication – and offers an invaluable guide for students and scholars alike. With one exception, all essays are completely new or revised for this volume.

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Chapter 18: Examining the Impact of Flaming, Message Valence, and Strength of Organizational Identity (Troy Elias / Andrew Reid / Mian Asim)


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Examining the Impact of Flaming, Message Valence, and Strength of Organizational Identity

Troy Elias, Andrew Reid and Mian Asim

The now trite phrase, “There’s an app for that!” ironically captures the ubiquitous nature of mobile applications more accurately than ever before. Mobile applications or “apps” represent small digital programs through which a user can perform a wide array of tasks, including banking (Fuscaldo, 2013), social networking (DeMers, 2015), or monitoring one’s health (Abroms, Padmanabhan, Thaweethai, & Phillips, 2011; Handel, 2011) by simply connecting to the Internet. The significance of apps prominence is not lost to marketers. Studies suggest that as many as two-thirds of the 140 million consumers with smartphones in the United States have been found more likely to shop in a brick-and-mortar store that offers a beneficial mobile app than in one that does not (Kang, Mun, & Johnson, 2015; Leggatt, 2014). Accordingly, marketers and advertisers are all too aware of the continuous increase in mobile app traffic and the potential of apps to keep audiences engaged (Kang et al., 2015). The question of what factors affect the adoption of apps does arise, however.

This experimental study seeks to explore the impact of the valence (i.e., positive or negative communication tenor) of user reviews on the attitudes and intentions of users of an organization’s informational app. Specifically, the study examines the impact of negative and positive reviews from in-group members, in conjunction with flaming comments...

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