We proposed a dual typology of audiences for social media communication campaigns: the participating audience, who interacts with campaign planners, and the observing audience, who observes those interactions. Situated in a context of promoting seeking counseling for depression, our online experiment (N = 570) demonstrated that the similarity of the observing and participating audiences (high vs. low), the message features of campaign planners’ replies (high person-centeredness vs. low person-centeredness vs. no reply), and the observing audience’s predispositions (with vs. without depressive symptoms) jointly affected the observing audience’s attitude toward seeking counseling. For observers with depressive symptoms, seeing a campaigner addressing a negative comment that reflects a similar concern of their own mitigated the adverse impact of the comment on the observers’ attitude. Our findings introduce a theoretical lens for understanding a communication process unique to campaigns on social media and offer insights into how the process shapes campaigns’ intended responses.
|Journal||Human Communication Research|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 8 Feb 2023|