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Evaluating a target on social media: From the self-categorization perspective

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... Previous work has investigated the psychological impact of social media use on users and their attempts to cultivate a desired online persona and build social connections (Antheunis & Schouten, 2011;Fox & Rooney, 2015;Mou, Miller, & Fu, 2015;Nadkarni & Hofmann, 2012;Vogel, Rose, Roberts, & Eckles, 2014). Other research has focused on social media consumers and their perceptions of individual use of social media (Anderson et al., 2012). ...
... Our study introduces and empirically tests an evaluation framework conceptually grounded in theories of social exchange, whereby observers of social media make use of available social media cues such as number of followers and "likes", and attractiveness to form perceptions of the likability of social media users. Although there are many studies of individuals' selfperception through social media use, empirical research of the outside observer as a social media consumer is still limited (Lee & Sung, 2016), with calls for social media research from the audience's perspective, rather than the user's perspective (Mou et al., 2015). ...
... SIP argues that people will use all available online cues to form impressions of others (Tong et al., 2008). These cues can be self-generated, other-generated, or system-generated (Antheunis & Schouten, 2011;Mou et al., 2015). ...
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Recent research addresses social media’s increasing importance to relationships and its influence on individual perceptions of self. However, understanding of the value outside observers place on social media status cues (i.e., followers, likes, etc.) in evaluating the perceived likability of others is currently underexplored. Using the theoretical lenses of social exchange and social information processing, we developed a conjoint experiment relating observers’ expected likability of social media users with variance in a social media user’s (1) number of followers and “likes”, (2) physical attractiveness, (3) and the percentage of “selfies” (self-portraits) posted. Data collected from 72 participants and 873 generated observations provided results consistent with our theory that those with more followers and “likes” have higher perceived likability. In addition, this perception was further enhanced by physical attractiveness, but diminished by the percentage of “selfies” posted. Of additional interest, we also found that likability differed by gender, age, and the amount of time spent on social media. Implications for future research are discussed.
... Conversely, impression formation in social media is an as yet emerging line of research. Mou, Miller and Fu (2015) suggested that increases in the speaker's credibility and attraction depend on the extent to which the topics published in messages and the expected type of communication for the social category to which the source belongs (for example: the expected speech for a Tenure) are consistent. On the other hand, Westerman, Spence and Heide (2013) proposed that the credibility of the source is associated with the immediacy of the messages published: in other words, a constant updating of messages would produce greater perceptions of credibility. ...
... On the one hand, the impressions produced by the powerful style in this setting were partially consistent with findings in other virtual-communication studies in terms of source credibility and persuasion (Adkins & Brashers, 1995), but differed from predictions on the attraction perceived towards the source (Erikson et al, 1978). In fact, as in Mou et al (2015), source credibility apparently depended on the extent to which the source and the expected speech for his/her category were congruent: the NGO leader was perceived to be more credible when presented as a man rather than a woman . Moreover, the male character using a powerful style was perceived as the most credible character . ...
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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.
... Existing research mainly investigated the effectiveness of the social media endorsement from the source perspective, with little attention being devoted to the follower perspectives (Dedeoglu, 2019). The accumulation of empirical evidence indicates that viewers' identities are likely to serve as a major success factor in social media marketing (Mou et al., 2015). Since following influencers on the online communities is usually self-selected and voluntary (Seering et al., 2018), it is crucial to consider viewers' identities. ...
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Social media influencer marketing is gaining importance in the restaurant industry, especially for independent restaurants. This study explores the underlying mechanism of social media influencer marketing in the context of independent restaurants in Arab and Islamic culture. The study combines the uncertainty reduction theory with the self-categorization theory to propose a research framework. Data were collected with Saudis. The results show that prototype clarity, self-prototypicality, and trust positively affect an influencer’s social attraction. Both trust and social attraction positively impact followers’ intentions to visit a restaurant recommended by an influencer. However, self-disclosure negatively influences the perceived trust of female influencers. The multi-group comparison results indicate that the trustworthiness of a male influencer and the social attraction of a female influencer lead to higher restaurant visit intentions. The findings provide independent restaurant owners in Arab and Islamic culture with meaningful insight into selecting appropriate influencers.
... Facing a complicated world that presents individuals to an array of complex issues, individuals tend to self-categorize themselves (and others) into in-group categories that provide straightforward cognitive heuristics (Carlin & Love, 2013). Beyond the reduction of cognitive load, self-categorization provides individuals with esteem and belonging (Abrams & Hogg, 1988, 1990Hogg & Terry, 2000), leads them to adhere to in-group social norms (Hogg, 2001;Hogg & Reid, 2006), develop in-group and outgroup prototypes (Leonardelli & Toh, 2015;Steffens et al., 2018), and ultimately may lead to attitudinal and behavioral outcomes (Johnson, 2010;Mastro & Kopacz, 2006;Mou et al., 2015;Page et al., 2015). ...
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The global media ecology offers news audiences a wide variety of sources for international news and interpretation of foreign affairs, and this kind of news coverage may increase the salience of both domestic and national partisan identity cues. Based upon the recognition that individuals hold multiple partisan identities that can be more or less salient in different situations, the current study draws upon self-categorization and social identity theory to design a set of studies that pit competing partisan identities against one another. The results of two experiments indicate that both national and domestic partisan identities are directly related to perceived media bias regarding the coverage of U.S-Chinese relations from both domestic and foreign media sources.Results varied based on the dimension of media bias considered, with perceived favorability towards the United States impacted more consistently by source origin than perceived favorability toward personal worldview.Results are discussed in terms of how they advance theory about perceived media bias, specifically in light of the implications of the global media environment for our understanding of partisanship.
... Similarly, there is evidence of the moderating role of social identity when users come to assess people perceived to belong to the in-group or the out-group in social media. In Mou, Miller and Fu (2015) the participants sharing membership in the category "professors" evaluated the social network profile of an in-group member as more credible and attractive than the evaluations made by out-groupers (students). Moreover, Lee and Oh (2012) pointed out that the publication of personalized messages by a politician in Twitter (e.g., information related to their personal aspects) provoked less favorable impressions about him among in-group members with higher party identification, as they consider that the candidate seemed to be following a personal agenda of self-promotion rather than a political agenda linked to the party ideology. ...
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The purpose of this work is to analyze the extent that users’ party identification affects the way in which they evaluate a political candidate from interacting with her followers in Twitter. The results of an experimental design showed that high-identified users –in contrast to low-identified ones– assessed their in-group candidate better when her inte- ractivity level was higher.
... The widespread usage of Facebook enable researchers to understand human psychology and development, therefore, most psychological issues are investigated using the data collected from Facebook. By the year 2013, seventy-three percent of adults were recorded as being active on social networking sites (Mou and Miller 2015). This high rate is similar to other researches and evaluations done in Turkey. ...
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Among social media users, parents constitute an active part and they have brought in a new concept, which is called 'sharenting' in literature. This study aimed at obtaining the usage frequency and the content of social media sharing, and investigating the information a group of parents shared online about their children, via content analysis. The researchers administered an online survey on the usage of Facebook on 219 parents, whom the researchers had already connected with on Facebook. The parents were also asked for permission to view their Facebook profiles. 94 parents gave permissions and their profiles were investigated in terms of sharenting for the months of February, April, and June 2015 (for these 3 months only). Information shared online by parents, show a wide range of variety and diversity. There is also a reflection of social media on sharenting. In terms of content share results, parents need to be aware of the information they share online regarding their children.
... The widespread usage of Facebook enable researchers to understand human psychology and development, therefore, most psychological issues are investigated using the data collected from Facebook. By the year 2013, seventy-three percent of adults were recorded as being active on social networking sites (Mou and Miller 2015). This high rate is similar to other researches and evaluations done in Turkey. ...
Article
Full-text available
Among social media users, parents constitute an active part and they have brought in a new concept, which is called 'sharenting' in literature. This study aimed at obtaining the usage frequency and the content of social media sharing, and investigating the information a group of parents shared online about their children, via content analysis. The researchers administered an online survey on the usage of Facebook on 219 parents, whom the researchers had already connected with on Facebook. The parents were also asked for permission to view their Facebook profiles. 94 parents gave permissions and their profiles were investigated in terms of sharenting for the months of February, April, and June 2015 (for these 3 months only). Information shared online by parents, show a wide range of variety and diversity. There is also a reflection of social media on sharenting. In terms of content share results, parents need to be aware of the information they share online regarding their children.
... The self-categorization theory has been applied in previous research in a variety of fields, such as human behavior (Turner et al., 1994) and social media (Mou, Miller, & Fu, 2015). Exercise frequency can be a threshold to distinguish between frequent and infrequent exercisers, representing the distinct image of frequent exercisers. ...
Article
Background No study has yet adopted the perspective of the self-categorization theory to examine the impact of playing exergames on players' attitudes and intentions towards other forms of exercise. Purpose To examine the impact of playing exergames on players' attitudes and intentions to engage in other exercise and how such an impact depends on previous exercise frequency. Methods This randomized controlled trial recruited 117 college students who were randomly assigned to either an intervention group (n = 55) or a control group (n = 62). Participants in the first group played an exergame for 30 min, three times per week for 12 weeks. This study calculated the changes in the participants' attitudes and intentions before and after the program, and compared the differences between the two groups. Results Exergaming improved the players' attitudes toward other forms of exercise. Such improvement was significant for frequent exercisers, but not for infrequent exercisers. Surprisingly, playing exergames strengthened the intentions to engage in other forms of exercise for frequent exercisers, but weakened such intentions for infrequent exercisers. Conclusions Exergaming encourages frequent exercisers to engage in other forms of exercise, but does the opposite among infrequent exercisers. Originality This study is the first identifying the contingent effect of exergaming on users' attitudes and intentions toward other forms of exercise.
... Past work has suggested that the perceived likeability and prototypicality of online contacts may also play a role in terms of how people engage with and evaluate the content posted by these contacts (see work by Mou et al., 2015;Weisbuch et al., 2009). Our selected 'liking' measures were very broad and not contact-specific, which may have played a role in terms of the non-significant results observed for self-monitoring as this tends to influence other-directed behaviour. ...
Article
This article appeared in the Special Issue on Web Communities; the Sense of Genuine Connectedness (http://www.inderscience.com/info/inarticle.php?artid=80814). If you don't have access, just email one of the authors, e.g., d.jeske(at)ucc.ie. A number of studies have examined the motives behind the use of one-click communication features such as the “like” button. This study considered how personality might shape how users employ the “liking” button in order to establish different online impressions, particularly when online posts include both everyday (normal) or risky (controversial) content. Using an online survey, we tested whether self-monitoring, agreeableness, affinity seeking and need for gratification would influence the likelihood with which participants would “like” posts given the transparent nature of social networks. Results based on an online sample (N = 217) revealed that “liking” of normal posts was positively predicted by agreeableness and need for gratification. However, only need for gratification positively predicted “liking” of controversial posts. This indicates that the content of the post as well as the personality characteristics play a role in online one-click interaction, reflecting different means to manage impressions online.
Chapter
Co-creation and experiencesSocial influence theoryActor–network theorySelf-categorisation theory Co-creation and experiences Social influence theory Actor–network theory Self-categorisation theory
Chapter
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This book presents a new theory of the social group which seeks to explain how individuals become unified into a group and capable of collective behaviour. The book summarizes classic psychological theories of the group, describes and explains the important effects of group membership on social behaviour, outlines self-categorization theory in full and shows how the general perspective has been applied in research on group formation and cohesion, social influence, the polarization of social attitudes, crowd psychology and social stereotyping. The theory emerges as a fundamental new contribution to social psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This field experiment examined the effects of the sex of Web site authors and Web site visitors on perceptions of the credibility of personal Web pages. Participants viewed male and female Web pages created for this study, patterned after personal pages on the Web, and assessed sponsor, message, and Web site credibility. Results revealed that men rated both message credibility and site credibility significantly higher than did women and that there was a significant interaction effect whereby opposite-sex credibility evaluations were higher than same-sex credibility evaluations. Overall, this study reveals that sex differences are meaningful in cyberspace but that the reduced cues environment challenges researchers to locate precisely what factors underlie these differences. Potential explanations include the vestiges of a sex-imbalanced Internet culture, sex similarity, sex and message congruence, and social desirability.
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What motivates people to derogate unfavorable ingroup members more harshly than comparably unfavorable outgroup members? Researchers investigating the black sheep effect maintain that this differential derogation is a means of group protection. In contrast, we argue that derogating unfavorable ingroup members may be an individual protection strategy whereby target devaluation distances an unfavorable other from the self as a means of limiting the threat of being associatively miscast. Participants read an article describing an unfavorable ingroup or outgroup target, and then received two means of responding to the target: target devaluation and group disidentification. Importantly, group disidentification was considered to be a uniquely individualistic distancing strategy. We found that both response options substituted for one another, depending on the order of presentation. Substitutability, we argue, suggests that the primary motive behind ingroup derogation in our study was distance augmentation, an individual protection strategy.
Information technologies
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