There is extensive evidence to suggest that social media has fundamentally changed the relationship between corporations and constituents. For example, a 2012 survey by Edelman finds that “listening to customers” for the first time is considered equal in importance to providing a high-quality product or service when it comes to establishing trust.1 Consumers expect to be able to engage with companies through social media, and the vast majority of consumers believe that direct engagement between company and consumer improves brand image.
Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that emotional perception, and not just information, is shaped by social media interactions. A 2014 paper by researchers at the University of California at San Diego finds that emotions expressed online can be contagious, with negative Facebook posts likely totrigger negative responses and positive posts likely to trigger positive responses.3 According to lead author James Fowler, “Our study suggests that people are not just choosing other people like themselves to associate with but actually causing their friends’ emotional expressions to change.”4
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