The Social Life of Content: How Negative Motivations to Interact with Content-Focused Pursuits Can Lead to Positive Feelings in Social Media

57 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2013

See all articles by Donna L. Hoffman

Donna L. Hoffman

George Washington University School of Business

Thomas Novak

George Washington University School of Business

Date Written: December 23, 2013

Abstract

Research supports the idea that when people use social media to interact with others, they are more likely to feel more related to others. But can using social media for more content-focused, less people-focused, pursuits lead to the same positive outcome of relatedness? We show that positive versus negative motivations (why people use social media) moderate how feelings of connection are experienced through the pursuit of people versus content goals (what people use social media for). Five studies demonstrate that relatedness can arise not only, as expected, from the pursuit of positively motivated people goals, but also, unexpectedly, from the pursuit of negatively motivated content goals. The latter effect occurs because negatively motivated content goals cognitively tune consumers to focus on others as opposed to themselves, thereby boosting the experience of relatedness, compared to positively motivated content goals. These results illuminate the circumstances under which online interactions can lead to feeling close and connected to others, and have important implications for research and practice.

Keywords: self-determination theory, social media goals, user-generated content, relatedness, well-being

Suggested Citation

Hoffman, Donna L. and Novak, Thomas, The Social Life of Content: How Negative Motivations to Interact with Content-Focused Pursuits Can Lead to Positive Feelings in Social Media (December 23, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2371461 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2371461

Donna L. Hoffman (Contact Author)

George Washington University School of Business ( email )

2201
G St NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States
9515431260 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://postsocial.gwu.edu

Thomas Novak

George Washington University School of Business ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States
9515431592 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
121
Abstract Views
897
rank
252,186
PlumX Metrics