Advice on Facebook: Channel effects on the evaluation of advice

Douglas E Pruim, Purdue University

Abstract

This thesis explores the evaluation of advice given in comments on Facebook status updates. To date, most research on advice has focused on dyadic, face-to-face interactions. The masspersonal channel of Facebook introduces a public into advice exchanges, including not only an audience but multiple advisors. The current study extends advice response theory by examining how advice recipients are affected by perceived consensus and tailoring in advice messages, and by the trait of conformity or the desire to conform to others' opinions. Participants (N = 269) completed questionnaires about past status updates on Facebook in which they disclosed a problem and received advice in comments from friends. Hierarchical multiple regression and mediation analyses were used to test the effects of consensus, tailoring, and conformity, along with message content and advisor characteristics. Message content was the strongest predictor of intention to implement advice, and mediated the influence of advisor characteristics. Consensus was a significant independent predictor. The effect of tailoring was mediated by message content and advisor characteristics. Finally, problem seriousness had a direct effect on intention to implement advice, moderated by tailoring. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, along with directions for future research.^

Degree

M.A.

Advisors

Erina L. MacGeorge, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Speech Communication|Web Studies|Sociology, Organizational

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