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The Impact of Online Comments on Attitude Toward Organizations Based on Individual's Prior Attitude

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0042273/00001

Material Information

Title: The Impact of Online Comments on Attitude Toward Organizations Based on Individual's Prior Attitude
Physical Description: 1 online resource (53 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Sung, Kang
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: biased, comments, feedback, message, online, review, sidedness
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: With the development of the Internet, the popularity and importance of online comments are constantly growing. However, despite the growing importance and wide use of online comments, research pertaining to the impact made by online comments on attitude toward organizations has not been extensive. This study examined whether online comments posted below a negative video have an effect on people?s attitude toward an organization. In particular, it examined how different types of online comments (positive vs. negative vs. two-sided) affect people?s attitude based on their prior attitude toward the company. Furthermore, the study examined what factors of online comments would be influential to attitude change. The findings indicated that online comments have a significant effect on people?s attitude toward the organization. Also, the effect significantly differed depending on people?s prior attitude toward the organization. As expected, people who had a neutral attitude toward the organization were the most affected by the negative or positive online comments. Two-sided message effect was also found. For people who had a prior negative attitude toward the organization, two-sided online comments were more effective in changing people?s attitude than positive comments. Additionally, the results showed that perceived usability was the most influential factor in people?s attitude change rather than the perceived similarity or perceived credibility toward the people who posted the online comments.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kang Sung.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Lee, Moon.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2012-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0042273:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0042273/00001

Material Information

Title: The Impact of Online Comments on Attitude Toward Organizations Based on Individual's Prior Attitude
Physical Description: 1 online resource (53 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Sung, Kang
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: biased, comments, feedback, message, online, review, sidedness
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: With the development of the Internet, the popularity and importance of online comments are constantly growing. However, despite the growing importance and wide use of online comments, research pertaining to the impact made by online comments on attitude toward organizations has not been extensive. This study examined whether online comments posted below a negative video have an effect on people?s attitude toward an organization. In particular, it examined how different types of online comments (positive vs. negative vs. two-sided) affect people?s attitude based on their prior attitude toward the company. Furthermore, the study examined what factors of online comments would be influential to attitude change. The findings indicated that online comments have a significant effect on people?s attitude toward the organization. Also, the effect significantly differed depending on people?s prior attitude toward the organization. As expected, people who had a neutral attitude toward the organization were the most affected by the negative or positive online comments. Two-sided message effect was also found. For people who had a prior negative attitude toward the organization, two-sided online comments were more effective in changing people?s attitude than positive comments. Additionally, the results showed that perceived usability was the most influential factor in people?s attitude change rather than the perceived similarity or perceived credibility toward the people who posted the online comments.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kang Sung.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Lee, Moon.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2012-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0042273:00001


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1 T HE IMPACT OF ONLINE COMMENTS ON ATTITUDE TOWARD ORGANIZATIONS BASED ON INDIVIDUALS PRIOR ATTITUDE By KANG HOON SUNG A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE R EQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010

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2 2010 Kang Hoon Sung

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3 To my parents Hae Yong Song and Ki Dok Ahn

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I owe my deepest gratitude to my parents, Hae Yong Song and Ki Dok Ahn, for supporting me throughout my program. What I accomplished is due entirely to their love and support. This thesis would not have been possible without guidance and advice from my chair Dr. Moon Lee. I am grateful for the patience she has shown me as I p er severed through trials and errors. In addition, I would like to show my gratitude to Dr. Mary Ann Ferguson and Dr. Spiro Kiousis, the professors who helped me as committee members. They provided much needed advice and inspiration throughout the process. I also thank the rest of the Department, who taught me in their class and shared their knowledge with me. And last but not least, I thank my dearest friends. Bless you all.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMEN TS ...................................................................................................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................................ 7 LIST OF FIGURES .............................................................................................................. 8 ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................ 11 2 LITERATURE REVIEW .............................................................................................. 14 Online Feedback Systems ......................................................................................... 14 Congruity Theory ........................................................................................................ 16 Biased Assimilation..................................................................................................... 18 Influence of Online Comments ................................................................................... 20 Type of Online Comments .......................................................................................... 21 Refutational vs. Non-refutational Two -sided Message .............................................. 22 3 METHODOLOGY ....................................................................................................... 25 Pre -study ..................................................................................................................... 25 Main Study .................................................................................................................. 25 Procedure ............................................................................................................. 25 Measures .............................................................................................................. 26 Prior a ttitude t oward o rganization ................................................................. 26 Post viewing a ttitude t oward the o rganization .............................................. 27 Perceived c redibility ...................................................................................... 27 Per ceived u sability ........................................................................................ 27 Perceived s imilarity ....................................................................................... 27 Perceived a ttitude c hange ............................................................................. 28 4 RESULTS .................................................................................................................... 29 Profile of the Sample .................................................................................................. 29 General Use of Online Comments ............................................................................. 31 Manipulation Checks .................................................................................................. 32 Random Assignment ............................................................................................ 32 Type of Comment ................................................................................................. 32 The Impact of the Video Mate rial ........................................................................ 33 Hypotheses and Research Questions Testing .......................................................... 34 Group with a Prior Negative Attitude Toward the Organization ......................... 35

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6 Group with a Prior Neutral Attitude Toward the Organization ............................ 36 Group with a Prior Positive Attitude Toward the Organization ........................... 37 Test of Research Question .................................................................................. 38 5 DISCUSSION .............................................................................................................. 39 Summary of Results ................................................................................................... 39 Implications ................................................................................................................. 39 Limitations and Future Research ............................................................................... 41 APPENDIX A YOUTUBE WEBSITE USED FOR THE EXPERIMENT ........................................... 44 B THE LIST OF ONLINE COMMENTS USED ............................................................. 45 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................................................................................... 49 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................................................................................ 53

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 -1 Demographic profile of participants ....................................................................... 30 4 -2 Number of participants in each cell ....................................................................... 30 4 -3 Cronbachs Alpha of Variables .............................................................................. 34 4 -4 Two way independent ANOVA results .................................................................. 35 4 -5 Multiple comparison of mean difference of post attitude toward company persuasiveness (prior negative attitude group) ..................................................... 36 4 -6 Multiple comparison of mean difference of post attitude toward company persuasiveness (prior neutral group) ..................................................................... 36 4 -7 Multiple comparison of mean difference of post attitude toward company persuasiveness (prior positive group) .................................................................... 37 4 -8 The relationship between perceived usability, perceived credibility, perceived similarity and perceived attitude change ............................................................... 38

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4 -1 General usage of online comments (Reading comments) ................................... 31 4 -2 General usage of online comments (Posting comments) ..................................... 32 4 -3 Simple main effects of type of online comments on attitude toward organization ............................................................................................................ 34

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9 Abstr act of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication THE IMPACT OF ONLINE COMMENTS ON ATTITUDE TOWARD ORGANIZATIONS BA SED ON INDIVIDUALS PRIOR ATTITUDE By Kang Hoon Sung August 2010 Chair: Moon Lee Major: Mass Communication With the development of the Internet, the popularity and importance of online comments are constantly growing. However, despite the growing impor tance and wide use of online comments, research pertaining to the impact made by online comments on attitude toward organizations has not been extensive. This study examined whether online comments posted below a negative video have an effect on peoples attitude toward an organization. In particular, it examined how different types of online comments (positive vs. negative vs. twosided) affect peoples attitude based on their prior attitude toward the company. Furthermore, the study examined what factors of online comments would be influential to attitude change. The findings indicated that online comments have a significant effect on peoples attitude toward the organization. Also, the effect significantly differ ed depending on peoples prior attitude t oward the organization. As expected, p eople who had a neutral attitude toward the organization were the most affected by the negative or positive online comments. Two-sided message effect was also found. For people who had a prior negative attitude toward the organization, two-sided online comments were more effective in changing peoples attitude than positive comments. Additionally, t he results

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10 show ed that perceived usability was the most influential factor in peoples attitude change rather than the perc eived similarity or perceived credibility toward the people who posted the online comments.

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11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Traditional media such as television and newspapers provide a oneway direction of communication from the media to the public, but with th e development of the Internet, two way communication between message sender and message receiver is becoming more prevalent. Members of the public can now immediately respond to media messages and express their opinions about a product or an issue using on line forums and web sites. Many news sites, blogs, content -sharing sites, and online shopping sites currently use such online feedback platforms. In particular, consumers increasingly consult online reviews on product -rating or shopping sites before they m ake purchases and look up movie ratings and reviews on rating sites before going to the cinema. According to global information and media company Nielsen, online feedback is one of the most credible sources of product information. In a survey conducted in 2007 with more than 26,000 Internet users in 47 countries, 61 % trusted consumer opinions posted online, following only recommendations from consumers, with 78 % and newspapers, with 63 % (Nielsen, 2007). Online feedback on blogs and forums is called online comments instead of online reviews. Rather than an evaluation of a product or service, these comments offer opinions or discuss an issue. Online comments are also used on news sites such as CNN and FOX, as well as on content -sharing sites such as th e videosharing site YouTube. In addition, companies are developing online tools that encourages and enhances the use of online comments. For example, Google Sidewiki launched by Google allows a person to post and read online comments alongside any web page, so even if a web site does not provide an embedded feedback platform, users can now

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12 share their online comments using this tool. With such new technologies, online comments, already popular, may be used even more actively and broadly in the future. Co mpanies are aware of the growing popularity and importance of online feedback and are finding ways to use it to further their own interests. More companies, including leading multinational corporations, are hiring social media specialists to counteract mis information posted online and to build positive relationships with the public (Lalley, 2009). However, despite the growing importance and wide use of online comments, research pertaining to the impact of online comments on attitudes toward organizations ha s not been extensive. Recently, the Domino s Pizza prank viral video became a significant issue and increased interest in online crisis management. In the video, two Dominos Pizza workers showed how they used various body parts to contaminate the food. A s word of the video spread, viewership of the video on YouTube skyrocketed. By the time Domino s became aware of this incident and got rid of the video, over a million views of the video clip had been counted. Domino s fired the two workers and issued a vi deo of the president of the company apologizing for the situation. However, the damage was already done: not only had millions of people watched the video clip, they had also shared their opinions through online comments. Therefore, even though the video was gone, the question remained: Could online comments alone change or reinforce peoples prior attitudes? This study examines whether online comments have an impact on peoples attitude toward an organization based on the individuals prior attitude. In p articular, we examine the effect of online comments posted under a video clip that portrays the

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13 organization negatively. The study provides an analysis of how positive, negative, and two -sided online comments affect people whose prior attitudes differ from that of the comment. In addition, factors that could influence the attitude change are examined.

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14 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Online Feedback Systems Online feedback systems are seen as an evolution of offline wordof -mouth (WOM) (Chatterjee, 2001; Dellac oras, 2003; Godes, 2004). Chatterjee (2001) distinguished online WOM from offline WOM by emphasizing that online WOM uses both (a) online communication models such as e mail and hypertext instead of oral communication and (b) many -to many communication ins tead of person-to person communication. Dellacoras (2003) stated that online feedback mechanisms are using the Internets bidirectional communication capabilities to artificially engineer large -scale, wordof mouth networks in which individuals share opinions and experiences on a wide range of topics, including companies, products, services, and even world events. Online feedback systems can be divided into two general categories: online reviews and online comments. Online reviews are usually feedback gi ven on a retailers site regarding products or services. This system is adopted by most online retail sales and service-providing sites, including eBay.com, Amazon.com, and Yahoo! Movies. In contrast, online comments are feedback given regarding content such as clips, images, stories, and news and are usually found on opinion forums and news web sites such as BBC and CNN and on content -sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr Most past studies of online feedback systems have focused on online reviews in o rder to determine how online reviews affect the sales or price of products. Dellacoras (2003) summarized the main conclusions derived from these past studies: (a) Online reviews seem to affect both prices and the probability of sale; (b) the impact of f eedback profiles on prices and probability of sale is relatively higher for riskier

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15 transactions and more expensive products; and (c) the overall number of positive and negative ratings, followed by the number of recently posted negative comments seem to be most influential in affecting buyer behavior. In contrast to the extensive studies conducted on online reviews, few studies have addressed the effects of online comments, but not because people write fewer online comments than online reviews: Accordin g to Pew Internet surveys, 31% of Internet users posted online reviews about a product they purchased or a service they received. Only slightly fewer Internet users (26%) posted comments to online news groups, web sites, blogs, or photo sites (Pew Internet 2009). In South Korea, which has the highest average Internet speed (Wong, 2009) in the world, as well as the highest percentage of homes with broadband Internet connections (AFP, 2009), studies regarding online comments have been the most extensive. Acc ording to a survey conducted by the National Internet Development Agency of Korea (2006), 45.6% of Internet users in Korea post comments online for reasons that include expressing my opinion (54.2%), exchanging information with others (21.9%), and to criticize the content or other comments (11.8%). People read comments to examine other peoples opinion (46%), to know more about the background of the issue (32.9%), and to obtain expert information (12.1%). Yang (2008) investigated how the tone o f news stories and the tone of associated online comments affect readers attitudes toward controversial issues. Yangs experiment showed that the tone of the online comments had a greater effect on the respondents attitudes toward the issues addressed th an the tone of the news story

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16 itself. However, it was the negative comments that had an effect, while the positive had none. Park and Lee (2007) tested the effect of online comments about a company in an online news forum on peoples perception of the comp any. The study was conducted in a 2 (tone of comments: negative vs. positive) 2 (number of comments: one vs. five) factorial design experiment. Eighty students who participated in the experiment read a news article from an online news forum and manipulat ed online comments posted below the article. The results showed that the tone and number of comments had significant interaction effects on the companys corporate reputation. However, the main effect of the number of comments applied only to participants who read positive comments. Park and Lees study intentionally used a company that was not well known to minimize the presence of prior judgment about the company (Park & Lee, 2007). However, in reality, people would rather read about or discuss organiza tions that they are aware of and will, therefore, likely have an attitude about that organization going in. Therefore, the current study selected a well known organization in order to examine how prior attitude affects the impact of online comments that e xpress a different attitude. Congruity Theory Osgood and Tannenbaums congruity theory is based on the idea that an individual has a tendency to make his or her thoughts and attitudes consistent. Under this theory, if an individual has an association w ith two objects and an attitude toward both of them but those attitudes are incongruous, the person will tries to change the incongruity by adjusting his or her attitudes. Let us assume that person A likes person B

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17 and dislikes concept C. If person B and c oncept C have a positive association, an incongruity emerges. Thus, person A tries to change the incongruity by changing his or her attitude toward B (like to dislike) or toward C (dislike to like) to achieve consistency. Osgood and Tannenbaum (1955) asser ted that this theory can predict the amount of attitude change based on the persons initial attitude toward the source such that the more favorable the attitude person A has toward source B, the greater the effect of source Bs positive message concerning concept C and the lower the effect of source Bs negative message concerning concept C. If person A has an unfavorable attitude toward source B, the opposite effect will occur. Osgood and Tannenbaums congruity theory also explains neutral attitudes. If a persons attitude toward both source and object is neutral, movement in the persons attitude depends on the assertion. If person A has no attitudes concerning source B or concept C, his or her opinion will depend on source Bs direction of assertion suc h that, if source B asserts a positive message toward concept C, the person will generate a positive attitude toward C, rather than a negative one. Tannenbaum (1956) studied how ones initial attitude toward an issue and source affects attitude change by t esting a hypothesis based on the susceptibility principle, which argues that the amount of attitude change toward an object is inversely proportional to the intensity of the original attitude toward that object. Tannenbaums results supported the principle but could not explain why the change was not the greatest for the group with a neutral attitude toward the issue since, according to the susceptibility principle, people with a neutral attitude should change their attitude the most. Tannenbaum provided tw o possible explanations: Either the measurement scales

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18 used for the experiment were not appropriate or some people are intensely neutral. Subsequent studies have also shown that initial attitude is an important factor in the effect of attempts to persuad e. For example, Peters (2000) presented to over 350 people newspaper articles and television programs about genetic engineering that had different attitudes toward the issue. Participants who had positive attitudes toward the issue covered in the news were less persuaded by negative content, and those who had negative attitudes toward the issue were less persuaded by positive contents. Biased Assimilation Whereas congruity theory explains the tendency of people making his or her thoughts and attitudes consi stent, the biased assimilation is the tendency to evaluate belief -consistent information more positively than belief -inconsistent information (Greitemeyer et al., 2008). The biased assimilation research addresses how people evaluate information as a function of their decision, opinions, attitudes and expectation (Fischer, Greitemeyer & Frey, 2008). According to the theory, people who hold strong opinions on an issue are likely to evaluate relevant information in a biased manner. The famous study by Lor d et al. (1979) showed that people tend to evaluate information that are consistent with their own beliefs as more favorable and convincing. Their study exposed college students to two studies, one supporting and one opposing capital punishment. As a resul t, college students who supported capital punishment initially rated the pro-capital punishment study as more convincing. On the other hand, college students who initially opposed capital punishment, rated the anti -capital punishment study as more convinc ing. Lord et al. (1979) suggested that biased assimilation arises since people judge confirming evidence as relevant and reliable but disconfirming evidence as irrelevant and

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19 unreliable. People are also more cautious and critical when processing disconfi rming information (Lord et al., 1979). Through two experiments, Edwards and Smith (1996) also provided evidence that arguments that are inconsistent with prior beliefs are scrutinized longer and more thorough, making the arguments weaker than arguments tha t are consistent with prior beliefs. The biased assimilation process was demonstrated and supported in many other studies that examined various social issues including abortion (Pomerantz et al. 1995), safety of nuclear power (Plous, 1991), the JFK assimil ations (McHoskey, 1995), homosexuality (Munro & Ditto, 1997; Munro et al., 2004; Boyson & Vogel, 2007) and political campaigns (Munro et al., 2002; Greitemeyer et al., 2008). However, few studies have examined biased assimilation processes on attitudes tow ard organizations on an online setting. Incorporating the theories, this study hypothesized that these tendencies will also be demonstrated on attitudes toward organizations when shown arguments through online comments. People with strong favorability tow ard an organization will perceive negative arguments about the organization as weak and unconvincing, therefore being less affected by those arguments. Similarly, people who strongly dislike an organization will perceive arguments that are favorable toward the organization as weak and unconvincing, therefore being affected by those arguments. H 1: People who have a prior neutral attitude toward an organization are more affected by negative comments about the organization than will people who have a prior po sitive attitude toward the organization.

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20 H 2: People who have a prior neutral attitude toward an organization are more affected by positive comments about the organization than will people who have a prior negative attitude toward the organization. Influen ce of Online Comments Several theories can be used to explain how online comments influence people. The social comparison theory posits that humans are driven to evaluate their own opinions and abilities and that, when there is no objective means available for such evaluation, the individual will evaluate by comparing himself or herself with others (Festinger, 1954). Considering that almost half of the people who read online comments read them in order to examine other peoples opinions (National Internet D evelopment Agency of Korea, 2006), one can assume that online comments are commonly used to compare opinions and, ultimately, to evaluate ones own opinion. According to the social comparison theory, perceived similarity with others and their opinions is important in an individuals evaluation and judgment of his or her opinion through social comparison. The theory argues that self evaluation occurs if the individual assimilates rather than contrasts himself or herself with the others, and that the tendenc y to compare with others decreases as the difference between ones opinion and those of others increases (Festinger, 1954; Suls, Martin, & Wheeler, 2002). In addition, individuals whose opinions are more similar to those of others have a stronger tendency to change than do those whose opinion is more different from those of others (Festinger, 1954). Based on the theory, we can assume that people will be more influenced by online comments if the comments are similar to their own opinions and if they think that the comments were posted by people who are similar to themselves. If the comments arguments are too different from the individuals opinion, the individual

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21 will not even try to compare his or her opinion with that of the group. Also, if an individual t hinks that the people who posted the online comments are significantly different from himself or herself, then those opinions will not have much effect. Many studies suggested source credibility as an important influence in evaluating information (Sternth al, Phillips & Dholakia, 1978) and in changing peoples attitudes and behavioral intentions (Lutz et al., 1983; MacKenzie & Lutz, 1989). However, in the web, where there is no face-to -face relationship, the credibility of a message might be perceived by the context or the quality of the message (Elliott, 2002; cited from Lee & Lee, 2008). Lee and Sung (2007) addressed the question concerning whether online comments posted under a news article can affect peoples perception of the article by focusing on the usefulness and credibility of the online comments. The results of their experiment showed that the usefulness of comments significantly affected peoples perception of an article. However, the credibility of comments did not have a significant effect on perception (Lee & Sung, 2007). This indicates that people are influenced by the usefulness of online comments, but not necessarily by their credibility. RQ 1: What factors (e.g., perceived usability, perceived similarity, perceived credibility) are influenti al in perceived attitude change? Type of Online Comments While some online comments on web sites are filled with Internet slang and emotions that do not express significant meaning, most express some kind of positive, negative, or two -sided opinion. Allen (1991) defined a one -sided message as a message that presents only those arguments in favor of a particular proposition and a

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22 two -sided message as a message that presents the arguments in favor of a proposition but also considers the opposing arguments (p. 391). Refutational vs. Non-refutational Two -sided Message Two -sided messages can be divided into either refutational or non-refutational messages. Allen (1991) defined refutational two -sided messages as messages that mention counterarguments to the position advocated and then refute them (p. 393) and non-refutational messages as messages that only mentioned the counterarguments without offering a refutation of them (p. 393). Hynd (2001) explained refutation as one of three types of persuasive argu ments: one -sided, non-refutational two-sided, and refutational two -sided. Hynd differentiated the two types of two-sided messages on the basis of whether the author demonstrated a preference; authors who showed a preference for one side over the other engaged in a refutational argument, while those who did not reveal a preference engaged in a non-refutational argument (Hynd, 2001). Many scholars have studied the effects of sided messages. One of the best known studies was conducted by Hovland, Lumsdaine, and Sheffield (1949), who used an experiment to determine the most effective way to persuade soldiers. The experiment, conducted with 625 soldiers, revealed that both one-sided and two -sided messages were effective in changing the soldiers opinions. However, if the prior opinion of the soldiers toward the issue was taken into account, the groups showed very different results, as soldiers who were initially opposed to the opinion were more persuaded by two -sided messages. Through a meta analysis, Allen (1991) showed that, in general, one-sided messages are more effective than non-refutational two -sided messages, but refutational two -sided messages are more effective than one-sided messages. Subsequent

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23 research has supported the persuasive advantage of a two-sided refutational message over a one-sided message with psychological theories such as the inoculation theory, attribution theory, and cognitive response theory (Lin, 2006). However, some studies have not supported the message sidedness effect. For exampl e, Lin, Lim, Kiousis, and Ferguson (2006) studied the effect of message sidedness on perceptions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and company evaluations by conducting an experiment with 205 undergraduate students in a 3 (message sidedness: one-sid ed vs. refutational two sided vs. nonrefutational two-sided) 2 (involvement: high vs. low) treatment condition. Through CSR web sites containing one-sided, refutational two -sided, or non -refutational two -sided messages, the researchers measured which ty pe of message was most effective in building a positive attitude toward the company. The results differed from those of some previous studies in that they found that a CSR web site with one-sided messages was more effective in building a positive attitude toward the company than was a site with refutational or non -refutational two-sided messages. The authors explained that possible asymmetrical organization of arguments and respondents suspicion of the message sources could have caused this contradictory result (Lin, Lim, Kiousis, & Ferguson, 2006). Kim (2007) studied the effects of message sidedness on corporate goodwill and trustworthiness in weblogs by exposing students to weblogs with one-sided, non-refutational two-sided, or refutational two -sided messages. The results showed that message -sidedness had no significant impact on perceptions of trustworthiness or goodwill. The current study examines whether message sidedness affects attitude toward an organization. In developing the hypothesis, the st udy refers to the experiment

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24 conducted by Hovland et al. (1949), which used refutational two-sided messages that showed preference for one side over the other in an experiment. This approach is also more realistic than other approaches since it is difficul t to find a non-refutational two sided online comment that shows absolutely no preference for one side. H 3: For people who have an initially negative attitude toward a company, two sided comments that include arguments from both sides are more effective in changing attitude than are one -sided comments that present only positive arguments.

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25 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY To test the proposed hypotheses and to answer the research question, a 3 (previous attitude toward the organization: negative vs. neutral vs. posi tive) x 4 (type of online comments: positive vs. negative vs. two-sided vs. none) factorial design was employed. The dependent variables were attitude toward organization, perceived attitude change, perceived usability toward the online comments, and perceived similarity as well as perceived credibility toward the people who posted the online comments. Two weeks prior to the main experiment, a pre-study was conducted. Pre -study To select the organization for the main study and to measure participants prio r attitudes, a survey was taken two weeks prior to the main study in which participants responded to questionnaire items that measured their attitudes toward ten organizations. About 400 students from a southeastern university were recruited. Participants had to fill out questionnaire items that measured their attitude toward ten organizations. McDonalds was selected as the most appropriate organization for the main study since it had the best distributed attitude range. Main Study Procedure The main experiment was conducted two weeks after the pre-study, and the same students who participated in the pre -study were invited. Based on their prior attitudes toward McDonalds, they were assigned to one of three groups (prior positive group, prior neutral group or prior negative group). Within the three groups, every participant was then exposed randomly to one of the four YouTube web pages, while ensuring that

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26 the participants in the same group get the same web page. The four YouTube web pages contained a video clip that was negative toward McDonalds, an experiment purporting to show how bad McDonalds French fries may be for peoples health. Below the video clip, five positive comments were posted for the positive online comments condition, five negative comm ents were posted for the negative online comments condition, five refutational two-sided comments were posted for the two-sided comments condition and no comments were posted for the no comments condition. Several pretests were conducted to develop the onl ine comments for the experiment using a seven -point Likert scale: negative/positive. The students were asked to watch the video clip and read the online comments and then to complete a questionnaire that measured their attitude toward the organization, their perceptions of the credibility and similarity of the people who posted the online comments, their perception of the usability of the online comments and whether their attitude had changed. They were also asked questions about their perceptions and activ ities regarding online feedback systems, along with general questions about demographics. Measures Prior a ttitude toward o rganization The participants prior attitudes toward the organization were evaluated by four seven point semantic differential scales: unfavorable/favorable, bad/good, dislike/like, and negative/positive (Holbrook and Batra, 1987). Participants with 4 -11 points were assigned to the prior negative attitude group, participants with 1220 points to the prior neutral attitude group and parti cipants with 21 -28 points to the prior positive attitude group.

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27 Post -viewing a ttitude toward the o rganization Participants post viewing attitudes toward the organization were evaluated by four seven point semantic differential scales (=.96): unfavorable /favorable, bad/good, dislike/like, and negative/positive (Holbrook and Batra, 1987). Perceived c redibility Participants post viewing attitudes toward the organization were evaluated by ten seven point semantic differential scales (=.92): undependable/dependable, dishonest/honest, unreliable/reliable, insincere/sincere, untrustworthy/trustworthy, not an expert/expert, inexperienced/experienced, unknowledgeable/knowledgeable, unqualified/qualified, and unskilled/skilled (Ohanian, 1990). Perceived u sability Perceived similarity was assessed using six seven -point Likert scales (1-strongly disagree, 7-strongly agree) translated from the scales developed by Lee and Sung (2007), which were modified from the original usability scale developed by Davis (1989): Th e online comments provided me with various information regarding the issue, The online comments provided me with useful information, The online comments broadened my knowledge about the issue, The online comments helped me to better understand the is sue, The online comments were worth reading, and The online comments provided me with new information (=.90). Perceived s imilarity Perceived similarity was assessed using four seven -point Likert scales (1 -strongly disagree, 7-strongly agree): People who posted the online comments that I just read are from a similar social class as mine, People who posted the online comments that I just read have a similar background to mine, People who posted the online comments

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28 that I just read are similar to me, and People who posted the online comments that I just read have a lot in common with me (=.88) (McCroskey, McCroskey & Richmond, 2006). Perceived a ttitude c hange The perceived attitude change was measured with a seven point semantic scale (disagree/agree) for responses to The online comments that I just read have affected my attitude toward the company.

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29 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Out of more than 400 students, only 373 college students finished the two studies successfully. In order to analyze the collected data, the SPSS program was used. The data set contained a total of 373 cases. This chapter consists of two sections. First, descriptive statistics about the participants of this study are discussed. Second, the hypothesis and the research questions are addressed, using the ANOVA analysis and regression analysis. Profile of the S ample All participants in this study were college students at the University of Florida. Among the total 373 participants, 238 (64.1%) were females and 134 (35 .9%) were males (see Table 4 -1). The vast majority of the participants were undergraduate students (99.2%) while the rest were graduate students. Among the undergraduate students, 61 participants (16.4%) were freshmen, 118 (31.6%) were sophomores, 123 (33% ) were juniors, 68 (18.2%) were seniors or post -baccalaureates. The participants age ranged from 18 to 29 with a mean age of 20.12 years old. The 373 participants were assigned to one of the three groups (prior negative attitude, prior neutral attitude, p rior positive attitude) according to their prior attitude toward the company McDonalds. The prior attitude was measured two weeks before the experiment with four seven point semantic scales: Unfavorable/Favorable, Bad/Good, Dislike/Like and Negative/Posit ive. The four scale points of each participant were added, which ranged from 4 to 28. Participants within 411 points were assigned to the prior negative attitude group (N=106), participants with 1220 points were assigned to the prior neutral attitude group (N=152) and participants with 21-27 points

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30 were assigned to the prior positive attitude group (N=115). Within the group, they were randomly assigned to one of four different comments type conditions: negative, positive, two -sided or no comments (see Table 42). Thus, a total of 12 attitude-condition groups (Prior attitude group Type of online comments) was generated. The number of participants in the each attitude -condition group ranged from 25 to 38. All participants signed an informed consent form be fore the experiment and were given class credit for their participation. Table 4 1. Demographic profile of participants Frequency Valid Percent Gender Female 239 64.1 Male 134 35.9 Total 373 100 Age 18 25 367 98.4 26 2 9 6 1.6 Total 373 100 Education Level Freshman 61 16.4 Sophomore 118 31.6 Junior 123 33.0 Senior or post baccalaureate 68 18.2 Graduate Student 3 0.8 Total 373 100 Table 4 2. Number of participants in each ce ll Type of Comment Positive Negative Two sided None Total Prior Attitude Negative 25 27 28 26 106 Neutral 38 38 38 38 152 Positive 28 25 32 30 115 Total 91 90 98 94 373

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31 General Use of Online C omments The survey regarding the participants general use of online comments shows that reading online comments is a very common activity. Of the 373 participants, 252 participants (67.6%) read online comments more than once per month; while 54 participants (14.5%) read online comments daily (see Figure 4 1). However, posting online comments was not a very common activity, as only 96 of 373 participants (25.8%) reported posting online comments more than once per month. When asked for the three websites on which they most frequently read online comments, participants clearly favored the video-sharing website YouTube (24.4%) and the social networking website Facebook (21%), followed by ESPN (4.6%), Twitter (2.7%), gossip blog PerezHilton (2.6%) and Yahoo News (2.6%). Facebook (40.2%) was also the website on which participants reported posting online comments most frequently, followed by YouTube (14.9%), Twitter (4.4%), ESPN (2.7%), Myspace (2.4%) and e learning (2.0%), the university online education tool. Figure 41. General usage of online comments (Reading comments)

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32 Figure 42. General usage of online comments (Posting comments) Manipulation Checks Random A ssignment Subjects were separated into three prior attitude groups (negative vs. neutral vs. positive) based upon their prior attitude toward the company, and within the group they were then randomly assigned to one of the four different types of comment conditions (positive vs. negative vs. two -sided vs. none). The ANOVA test was run with type of online comments as the independent variable and the prior attitude as the dependent variable to measure if random assignment was successful. Results showed that type of online comments had no significant effect on the prior attitude which supported the success of random assignment, F (3, 369) = 0.58, p<.1. Type of C omment The manipulation check for the different types of comments showed an acceptable level of manipulation. The participants were asked to rate their opinions toward the comments they had just read during the experiment using a seven -point Liker t scale:

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33 negative/positive. The group reading positive comments rated the comments as very positive (mean= 6.34, SD=1.231), the group reading negative comments rated the comments as very negative (mean=1.64, SD=1.065) and the group reading two -sided comments rated the comments as slightly positive (mean=4.9, SD=1.475). The Impact of the Video M aterial As expected, participants considered the video to be very negative toward the company (mean=1.73, N=373, s=1.023) when asked to rate their opinion toward the video through a seven point Likert scale (negative-positive). Reliability Check for Dependent Measures All items for the dependent variable were averaged in this current study. There should be high internal reliability in order to average the items. Ther efore, the reliability analysis was run for each dependent variable, including attitude toward company, perceived reputation of the company, perceived credibility of the online comments, perceived credibility of the people who posted the online comments, perceived usability, and perceived similarity. Past studies suggested that reliability coefficients over .90 are excellent, over .80 as very good, and over .70 as adequate (Kline, 1998). The results of the reliability analysis showed that the indexes of the variable used for this study had a high internal reliability. Table 43 illustrates the Cronbachs alpha for each scale. Each scale surpassed .80, indicating they are appropriate for use in the study.

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34 Table 4 3 Cronbachs Alpha of Variables Varia ble Cronbachs Alpha Attitude toward the company .96. Reputation .84 Perceived usability K .90 Perceived usability .95 Perceived credibility toward online comments .88 Perceived credibility toward online comment poster .92 Perceived similarity .88 Hypotheses and Research Questions Testing A two way independent ANOVA was performed with prior attitude toward the organization and the type of comment as independent variables and the post video attitude as dependent variable. There was a significant int eraction between the prior attitude toward the organization and the type of comment, on one hand, and the post video attitude toward the organization on the other: F (6, 361) = 3.710, p<.001 (Table 4 4). Figure 4 -3 shows the sample mean effects of the type of comment on the post video attitude toward the organization. Figure 4 3 Simple main effects of type of online comments on attitude toward organization

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35 Table 4 4 Two way independent ANOVA results df F Sig. Partial Eta Squared Corrected Model 11 60.777 0.000 0.649 Prior Attitude 2 282.082 0.000 0.610 Type of Comment 3 22.353 0.000 0.157 PA*TC 6 3.710 0.001 0.058 Error 361 To gain a better understanding of the effect of the type of comment on the prior attitude groups, a oneway ANOVA was performed within the three different prior attitude groups with the type of comments as the independent variable and the post video attitude as the dependent variable. Group with a Prior Negative Attitude Toward the O rganization The results showed that the type of online comment had a significant effect on the post video attitude for the group with a prior negative attitude toward the organization: F (3, 102) = 13.164, p<.001. To examine the effects of the different online comments, Scheffe post hoc tes ts were performed (Table 45) to compare the different type of comments groups with the control group. The tests showed that only the post video attitude mean score for the two-sided comments group was significantly higher than that of the no comments group. Compared to the post video attitude mean score (ranging from 1 to 7) of participants in the control group who did not read any online comments (mean=1.47, SD=0.12), the mean score of the subjects who were exposed to negative comments was lower (mean=1.28, SD=0.48), and the mean score of the subjects who were exposed to positive comments was higher (mean=1.84, SD=0.76). The post video attitude mean score of the subjects who were exposed to two -sided comments was the highest (M=2.42, SD=0.18).

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36 Table 4 5 Multiple comparison of mean difference of post attitude toward company persuasiveness (prior negative attitude group) Mean Difference of post attitude toward company (I J) Positive (J) Negative Two sided No comment Positive (I) 0.56 0.58* 0.37 Ne gative 1.14* 0.14 Two sided 0.95* No comment Note. 1. Scheffe post hoc was performed. 2. The mean difference is significant at the .05 level. Group with a P rior N eutral A ttitude T oward the O rganization Again, the results of the ANOVA test showed that the type of online comments had a significant effect on the post video attitude for this group: F (3, 148) = 23.168, p<.001. The Scheffe post hoc test (Table 46) revealed that the post video attitude mean score for the positive comments group was significantly higher than that of the no comments group. In addition, the post video attitude mean score for the negative group was significantly lower than that of the no comments group. Compared to the post video attitude mean score of the no comment group (mean=3.30, SD=0.92), the mean score of the negative comment group was lower (mean=2.44, SD=0.89), the mean score of the two-sided comment group was higher (mean=3.72, SD=1.12) and the mean score of the positive group was the highest (mean=4.38, SD =1.13). Table 4 6 Multiple comparison of mean difference of post attitude toward company persuasiveness (prior neutral group) Mean Difference of post attitude toward company (I J) Positive (J) Negative Two sided No comment Positive (I) 1.93* 0.65 1. 07* Negative 1.28* 0.86* Two sided 0.43 No comment Note. 1. Scheffe post hoc was performed. 2. The mean difference is significant at the .05 level.

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37 Group with a P rior Positive A ttitude T oward the O rganization Again, the results of the AN OVA test showed that the type of online comments had a significant effect on the post video attitude for this group, F (3, 111) = 2.753, p<.05. Compared to the post video attitude mean score of no comment group (mean=4.72, SD=1.50), the mean score of the n egative comment group was almost the same (mean=4.78, SD=1.18), the mean score of the two-sided comment group was a bit higher (mean=5.30, SD=1.13) and the mean score of the positive group was a bit higher yet (mean=5.53, SD=1.18). However, the Scheffe pos t hoc test (Table 47) revealed that the difference in the post video attitude mean scores of the groups was insignificant. Table 4 7 Multiple comparison of mean difference of post attitude toward company persuasiveness (prior positive group) Mean Diffe rence of post attitude toward company (I J) Positive (J) Negative Two sided No comment Positive (I) 0.75 0.23 0.80 Negative 0.52 0.56 Two sided 0.57 No comment Note. 1. Scheffe post hoc was performed. 2. The mean difference is signific ant at the .05 level. According to the post hoc tests, the prior neutral attitude group was significantly affected by negative comments while the prior positive attitude group was not. Therefore, H1 was supported. Similarly, the prior neutral attitude group was significantly affected by positive comments while the prior negative attitude group was not. Therefore, H2 was also supported. Finally, for the prior negative attitude group, the twosided comments were significantly more effective than the positive comments. Thus, H3 was also supported.

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38 Test of Research Question Multiple regression was performed to examine which factors are influential. As shown in Table 4 8, perceived usability, similarity and credibility all significantly influence attitude chan ge, (F=36.35, df=3, 275, p<.001). However, when each variable was examined, perceived usability was the only factor that was significantly influential on perceived attitude change (t=8.911, p<.001). The other two variables were insignificant. Table 4 8 The relationship between perceived usability, perceived credibility, perceived similarity and perceived attitude change Perceived attitude change (beta) t Sig. df F R Square Perceived usability 0.508 8.912 0.000 3, 275 36.352 0.284 Perceived credibility 0.032 0.552 0.581 Perceived similarity 0.043 0.822 0.412

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39 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Summary of Results This study examines whether online comments posted below a negative video have an effect on peoples attitude toward an organization based on their previous attitudes toward that organization. The study also examines what factors related to online comments most influence attitude change. The findings indicate that online comments have a significant effect on peoples attitude toward an organization, although the effects differ significantly based upon their prior attitudes toward the organization. People who have a neutral attitude toward the organization are most affected by negative or positive online comments, and people who have a prior negative attitude toward the organization are more affected by two sided online comments than by positive comments. The results show that perceived usability of the comments was more influential factor in peoples attitude change than perceived similarity or perce ived credibility of the people who posted them. It is often difficult to determine the identity of an individual who posts an online comments, so similarity or credibility is difficult to evaluate. Therefore, it is reasonable that usability is the most inf luential factor. Implications Many studies concerning congruity theory of biased assimilation were conducted in regards to attitudes toward social issues or political campaigns, but not to attitudes toward organizations. This study showed that those theori es could also explain attitude toward organizations. People with strong attitudes tend to change their attitudes less than people with neutral attitudes when exposed to belief -inconsistent arguments.

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40 However, the results of the pretests showed that people tend to have less extreme attitudes toward organizations than to social or political issues. In fact, among the ten organizations in the pre-study, most of the organizations were rated as neutral from the participants when asked their attitude toward the o rganization. The company McDonalds was selected since people had a wide range of attitude toward the company that was appropriate enough to divide them into three different attitude groups. The fact that people have a more neutral attitude toward organizations means that attitudes toward organizations could be more vulnerable compared to attitudes toward social or political issues. This could also indicate that online comments in general could be more effective to change attitudes toward organizations than attitudes toward social or political issues. Although results of past studies concerning message sidedness were controversial, this study supported the message sidedness effect. The refutational twosided message that included arguments from both positive and negative side, but emphasized the positive side more, was especially effective in changing attitudes of people who initially disliked the organization. For practical purposes, this study provides some important implications. Previous studies on onlin e comments found out that they were effective in influencing peoples attitude toward organizations (Park & Lee, 2007) but they did not consider peoples initial attitudes toward the organization. The current study also supported the effect of online comments on changing peoples attitude toward an organization. Additionally, the study revealed that initial attitude toward an organization is a very important variable. The results of the study suggest that practitioners should not only continue to observe

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41 an d care for online comments, but also to approach with different strategies to different groups. For example, if a practitioner represents an organization that is not well known or has a more neutral attitude among people, extra care should be taken to onli ne comments. Additionally, the study suggests that different types of messages could be more effective in dealing different attitude groups. For example, for a group that has negative opinions about the organization, conveying two -sided messages, rather th an one-sided messages, could be more effective in changing their opinions. Limitations and Future Research The study has some limitations. The experiment was conducted with one company, the fast food chain restaurant McDonalds. It was selected through th e pre study since it was the organization that participants showed a wide range of attitudes toward that was needed to identify the different prior attitude groups. Since the company is concentrated in one business sector which is the food industry, to gen eralize the results of the current study to every organization, it would have been preferred if other organizations in different business sectors were additionally considered. The studys limitations include the experiments exposing each participant to only one type of comment (positive, negative, two-sided or none), while in reality it is rare to see only one type of message posted; usually, positive, negative, two -sided, and very random messages such as meaningless emoticons are posted together. The exp eriment would also have been more realistic if participants were not asked to read the comments since some people read comments and some do not. While the study confirmed that online comments have a significant effect on peoples attitude toward an organi zation, it does not intend to encourage inappropriate or misleading practices by practitioners. Past research has shown that online reviews

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42 and online comments can affect consumer attitudes toward a product or a service, but these findings have tempted som e practitioners to use online comments in the wrong way by planting fake online reviews or comments to improve their product or organizations image. However, according to a survey conducted by Burson-Marsteller (2007), a public relations company, consumer s are becoming more suspicious about online reviews. Forty eight percent of 150 online opinion leaders surveyed stated that they believe there is commercial activity on opinion web sites, which is nine percent higher than the finding from 2001. Moreover, 5 7 percent of them are less likely to purchase a product when they suspect a paid professional has left biased comments on an opinion web site. Online reviews and comments are a revolutionary phenomenon that was not possible in the past. They are written vo luntarily and are mostly interactive, the perfect example of a twoway communication. In these reviews and comments, people share information and views about products or services and discuss their problems or concerns without restriction. Therefore, the re sults of the Burson-Marsteller survey that people are becoming more suspicious of online comments, is causing much concern about the integrity of online comments for the future. Cases such as the fake Walmart blog case (Craig, 2007; Gogoi, 2006a; Gogoi, 20 06b) also show that dishonest public relations practices also contribute to increasing mistrust of online reviews and comments. Academicians and practitioners must devise ways to execute online management without violating ethics, like the code of ethics of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. The history of online reviews and comments is brief and is in transition, so

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43 it is a time when academicians and practitioners have great responsibility either to help elevate the advantages of online comments and reviews or to elevate the mistrust of some consumers and render such comments and reviews pointless.

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44 APPENDIX A YOUTUBE WEBSITE USED FOR THE EXPERIMENT

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45 APPENDIX B THE LIST OF ONLINE C OMMENTS USED Positive O nline C omments McDonalds fries are? very tasty. I like eating them and this video hasnt changed my mind. The reason why their fries have not molded up is because of the way the fries are deep fried that sterilizes them. And a humans stomach is definitely different from an empty jar. 1 month ago mountain01011 Yeah, if there is something wrong with the fries, the FDA would have said something. I am just over the crap that they say about fast food. McDonalds is one of the biggest fast food chain that creates a lot of jobs and money for Ameri ca and gives back to the community.? 1 month ago 92Rbgreen What a waste of time and food. Read the book "McDonalds: The company that changed the way to doing business" by John F. Love. It shows that all processes involved in the production of McDonalds is high quality standard and safe. The food is what it is:? fast, cheap, and tasty. 1 month ago markus8099 McDonalds is the best! I eat at McDonalds and I am in great shape. There is nothing wrong with 100%? American beef and some french fries. And our body contains enzymes that break down food like French fries. There was nothing in that jar! 1 month ago yummfrodo

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46 I dont care what happens to the food if you put it in a jar. Most people eat what they order from McDonald's close to when they get it. If y ou are so freaked out about their fries then? don't eat them, leaves more for the rest of us who still like them. jenrodgers1 Negative O nline C omments I haven't been to a McDonald's for at least 6 months and I don't plan to go back there anytime? soon. Th eir artery -clogging, sugar overloaded food is just disgusting. Yuk, everyone should steer clear of them. Seriously, especially parents should not feed their children these kind of food!! 1 month ago MrKenrilee Those McDonalds french fries are impregnated with? artificial oil, and yes, it's not good for the body. Just think how hard your body has to work to break those fries down. You never really break some components of that oil down. 1 month ago markus8099 Gosh, there is definitely something wrong with? the fries. People need to realize it's not just potatoes, oil, and salt in those fries because I'm pretty sure the other nonMcDonald's fries had those ingredients and it still got molded up pretty fast. 1 month ago yummfrodo I think the point is t hat the amount of preservatives? that go into McDonalds french fries is seriously excessive and unhealthy. Imagine the problems you'd get eating them on a regular basis and how your body would react to all that. 1 month ago mountain01011

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47 Have you? ever wondered that even after years and years of inflation, with the prices of everything going up and all, McDonald's can still sell you the same food at around the same price it's always been years ago? Makes you wonder what they are substituting into the food t o keep selling it to you for 99 cents. jenrodgers1 Two -sided C omments People say that McDonalds is bad and unhealthy. And I agree in a sense. But I dont think that McDonalds is much unhealthier than other restaurants.? I eat Mcdonalds almost every week and I am fit. I dont think it is the food that makes people fat. It is rather the metabolism and their lifestyle. 1 month ago 92Rbgreen I really dont like fast food and prefer healthier foods. But if there should be something wrong with the fries, the FDA would have said something. There are so many other foods that are unhealthier.? At least, McDonalds creates a lot of jobs and money for America and gives back to the community. 1 month ago MrKenrilee Yes, it looks disgusting and maybe they put somethi ng to preserve it longer. But really, do u think mcdonalds really reuses like 3? month old fries? I dont think so. I get my fries warm, i look at them being fried, who cares if its disgusting after 2 weeks in the jar? The fries are good and i like them. 1 month ago mountain01011

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48 Ok, maybe the? Mcfries are not the healthiest food on the planet, but putting them in a jar doesnt prove anything. FFS, our body contains enzymes that break down food like french fries, so why not put some enzymes in the jar so it can replicate human biology? This is such a pathetic experiment. 1 month ago markus8099 Pretty lame. First of all, everybody in their right mind knows that McDonalds is not the most healthiest food. Duh! But I would? say that a human stomach acts much di fferently than a glass jar that's not even air -tight. The body will break down the food just fine. There are so many other foods that are worse than this. Trust me. yummfrodo

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53 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Kang Hoon Sung was born in South Korea. He graduated from Korea University in 2006, earning a B.A. in English Language and Literature. After graduation, he worked as a Public Relations consultant at News Communications and worked with leading multinational corporations such as Boeing, MasterCard, Outback Steakhouse and JP Morgan Asset Management. He completed his Master of Arts in Mass Communi cation at University of Florida in 2010 and plans to begin his doctoral study in 2010 fall semester.