Does Twitter matter? The impact of microblogging word of mouth on consumers’ adoption of new movies
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This research provides an empirical test of the “Twitter effect,” which postulates that microblogging word of mouth (MWOM) shared through Twitter and similar services affects early product adoption behaviors by immediately disseminating consumers’ post-purchase quality evaluations. This is a potentially crucial factor for the success of experiential media products and other products whose distribution strategy relies on a hyped release. Studying the four million MWOM messages sent via Twitter concerning 105 movies on their respective opening weekends, the authors find support for the Twitter effect and report evidence of a negativity bias. In a follow-up incident study of 600 Twitter users who decided not to see a movie based on negative MWOM, the authors shed additional light on the Twitter effect by investigating how consumers use MWOM information in their decision-making processes and describing MWOM’s defining characteristics. They use these insights to position MWOM in the word-of-mouth landscape, to identify future word-of-mouth research opportunities based on this conceptual positioning, and to develop managerial implications.
KeywordsWord of mouth communication Microblogging Twitter Early adoption Movies
The authors thank three anonymous JAMS reviewers, Andre Marchand and the participants of research seminars at Cass Business School, the University of Muenster, the University of Hamburg, the Technical University of Munich, HEC Paris, ESCP Paris, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the UCLA/Mallen Workshop in Motion Picture Industry Studies for their constructive criticism on previous versions of this article. They also thank Benno Stein and Peter Prettenhofer for their help with the WEKA analysis, Mo Musse and Peter Richards for their IT help, Chad Etzel from Twitter for supporting the data collection, and Arzzita Nash for help with the coding. Finally, the authors are grateful for research funds provided by Cass Business School and City University London that supported this project.
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