Association Journals

The Validity of “Word of Mouth” Communication Appearing on the Internet: The Effect of Nonverbal Cues on the Interpretation and Memory of Information.

SUGITANI Yoko(Hitotsubashi University)

This study aimed to verify the effectiveness of “word-of-mouth communication (WOMC)” that is emerging as a trend on the Internet. Compared to face-to-face WOMC, it was suggested that WOMC through the Internet conveyed fewer nonverbal cues such as facial expression, voice, and gesture. Although nonverbal cues are useful when expressing our feelings, they do not contribute to communicating facts and information. Therefore, it was suggested that face-to-face WOMC could be interfered with by the presence of nonverbal cues that attract consumers’ attention. The author presented the following hypotheses: (1) compared to face-to-face WOMC, WOMC through the Internet can convey facts and information more effectively, (2) WOMC through the Internet can be less effective in communicating emotions and feelings, and (3) consumers can subjectively regard face-to-face WOMC to be more effective in conveying both facts/information and emotions/feelings. The hypotheses were marginally supported. Further, the effects of nonverbal cues were discussed.

Keyword : Word of Mouth, Internet, nonverbal cues, media, face to face communication