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