The Human Voice in Social Media Builds Community

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May 18, 2011; Source: ScienceBlog | Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that the use of the human voice in social media helps to build a sense of community online and produces higher satisfaction ratings. The researchers presented study participants with mock sites from existing nonprofit and for-profit organizations and they responded much more positively to those with what they perceived to be a “conversational human voice”.

Oddly they also found that the business sites were more likely to be perceived as using a “conversational” human voice than were the nonprofit organizations. Hyojung Park, a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri School of Journalism said, “Communicating in a human voice adds a sense of personal and sociable human contact to the interaction with the public . . . We have evidence that perceived conversational human voice may promote trust, satisfaction, and commitment in relationships between an organization and the public, which in turn results in favorable behavioral intentions toward an organization.”

Park and her research partner, Hyunmin Lee, received the Top Student award for their paper, The Use of Human Voice as a Relationship Building Strategy on Social Networking Sites, from the International Public Relations Research Conference this past March.—Ruth McCambridge

  • Bhaskar

    This is Bhaskar from India: Greetings!
    “” Its true The Human Voice has Great
    Power of Attraction and convincing nature, So, its really not only builds
    but also changes and Influences Human

  • Deborah Newmark

    As we use more and more social media they are confirming results that have long been known….just as with a mother and new born child from the first hello, her voice portrays respect, inclusion, security, importance, acceptance. The five critical needs to being an emotionally healthy person. P.S. I still enjoy the personal contact with a big hug. Congratulations!

  • sherry Friedlander

    Sight and sound is the best way to communicate. It is proven. When addressing a group or an individual you don’t know how they learn. So showing a photo and a verbal reply allows them to learn in their way. It works!

  • Gayellen Davis

    This is very interesting given that many companys have taken out the Receptionist and put in “automatic” answering services. Most of the customers I’ve ever dealt with loved hearing my voice as their first contact on the phone. I’ve always gotten complements on my phone voice. Now receptionists have been replaced by automatic voices. Most people don’t really like talking to a mcahine. So if Human voices are so attractive on social network sites, imagine how much better business will be when you put the receptionist back at the front desk.

  • Victoria Foundation

    This is a valuable study and shows why social media is such a great tool for engaging and community building. Particuarly in the nonprofit sector, where it’s all about connecting people and community, putting a human face on an organization is very powerful. Perhaps the golden lesson here is to treat everyone as you yourself would like to be treated. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Cary Walski

    I think this post is right on, and I hope it will inspire some nonprofits to encourage those tasked to communicate via social media to openly identify who they are, instead of just broadcasting from “behind the logo.”