The Effects of "Friend" Characteristics on Evaluations of an Activist Group in a Social Networking Context

Qian Xu, Mike Schmierbach, Saraswathi Bellur, Erin Ash, Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, Andrew Kegerise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research suggests that individuals use cues about the popularity of a cause or group to make judgments. This bandwagon phenomenon has found particular support in online contexts. However, perceptions regarding the group may also depend on the identity of those supporters. We employed a 2 × 2 × 2 experiment to test the effect of number of affiliates and affiliate race and age on feelings toward the group, its page, and intended support. Results suggest that feelings are not subject to a consistent bandwagon effect but rather are moderated by race, with White participants exhibiting more positive feelings when seeing a page with few Black affiliates or many White affiliates. This result contrasts with findings for age, which serves to moderate only intended page use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-453
Number of pages22
JournalMass Communication and Society
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

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