Communication channels such as Facebook may be leading consumers to discuss more interesting products, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press Journals which will be published in the October 2013 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. "Whereas oral communication tends to be instantaneous (one person says something and then another responds almost immediately), written conversations tend to have longer gaps (consumers respond to e-mails, texts, or Facebook messages hours or days later). How the medium shapes the message is the new incentive.
Rather than saying whatever comes to mind, consumers can take the time to think about what to say or edit their communication until it is polished," write authors Jonah Berger and Raghuram Iyengar (both Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania), according to the July 26, 2013 news release, "Is Facebook actually making communication about products and brands more interesting?"
You can check out the abstract or the original study, "Communication Channels and Word of Mouth: How the Medium Shapes the Message." Journal of Consumer Research. It will be published on October 2013. (University of Chicago Press Journals.) Authors are Jonah Berger and Raghuram Iyengar. New technologies have dramatically changed how we communicate. Or see the Wharton Marketing PDF article, "Communication Channels and Word of Mouth."
Speaking without thinking or having the time to pause and think before writing?
There's more control over what you say by writing and what you speak over the phone or without a script in a video. Email, texting, and tweeting as an alternative to phoning is gaining popularity, especially among introverts who feel more relaxed thinking and writing instead of frequently talking to others without much time to pause and think of what words to say, why, and when.
The notion of having the time to pause and think makes a big difference when words are saved for a lifetime. Some people easily can think on their feel, instantly without pausing to think and judge their words. Others prefer to weigh the words and write what words they'd like to have remembered and perhaps used wisely or cherished.
Instead of talking face-to-face or over the phone, consumers can now e-mail, text, tweet, or message back and forth on Facebook. In one study, asking consumers to communicate via written rather than oral communication (or merely asking consumers to pause before speaking) led them to talk about more interesting products and brands. The authors also analyzed data from tens of thousands of conversations and found that more interesting products and brands (Apple) are discussed more than mundane products (Windex) in online communication. It's about verbal aptitude and ability, even with spelling checkers when writing text for email or posting.
Refining what you say
Sometimes silence is golden and written words have power to be remembered and spoken by others, then passed forward like history. Written communication gives consumers more time to construct and refine what they say. As a result, consumers mention more interesting products and brands (Google Glass rather than Colgate toothpaste) compared to oral communication.
"Consumers have a natural tendency to talk about things that make them look good. But selecting the right thing to say requires time. In oral communication, consumers talk about whatever is top-of-mind (the weather), but written communication gives them the opportunity to select more interesting things to say," the authors conclude, according to the news release.