Abstract: We suggest that word familiarity plays an important role in driving consumer engagement on social media. Consistent with a processing fluency account, we find that online posts with a higher ratio of familiar words are more liked, commented on, and shared on social media. We analyze over 4,000 Facebook posts from Humans of New York, a popular photography blog on social media, over a 3-year period to see how word familiarity shapes social media engagement. The results hold when controlling for photo characteristics, story valence, and other readability metrics. Experimental findings further demonstrate the causal impact of word familiarity and the processing fluency mechanism in the context of a fictitious brand. This research articulates the impact of processing fluency on brief word-of-mouth transmissions in the real world while demonstrating that word familiarity as a message feature matters. It also extends the impact of processing fluency to a novel behavioral outcome: commenting and sharing actions.
Work in Progress:
"School, Stress and Suicide" (with D. Heger and C. Wuckel)
"Gender Discrimination in the Allocation of Graduate Scholarships"