Exploring Consumer Empowerment in Consumption Communities Based in Social Media

Exploring Consumer Empowerment in Consumption Communities Based in Social Media

Imene Ben Yahia (Institut Superieur de Finance et de Fiscalité de Sousse (ISFFS), Tunisia) and Lilia El Ferci (ARBRE, High Institute of Management Tunis, Tunisia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9461-3.ch045
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Abstract

In spite of the keen interest in empowerment, few authors have applied the concept to the characteristics of the Internet. This paper approaches it within consumption communities based in social media and explores its effects on consumers' behaviors towards firms. A participant observation was carried out and has lasted one year and a half in two consumption communities based in Facebook. Additionally, distant in-depth interviews have been conducted. Results give evidence for the existence of consumer empowerment online and highlight its complex multidimensional structure. Four dimensions are identified: informational, technological, social, and psychological. Results also underline that empowered consumers assess firms and call to reward some and to boycott others (1); negotiate to get better offerings (2) and demand cooperation (3).
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Consumption Communities Based In Social Media

In view of the high interest in social media, many terms are used to design them such as social software, computer mediated communication; digital media and web 2.0. Many definitions are assigned as well. Kaplan and Haenlein, (2010, p. 61) define them as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content.”

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