Does Human Warmth Matter? – An Experiment on User Profiles in Initial Business Interaction
Social Presence (SP), i.e. the feeling of human warmth, is usually treated as a desirable outcome of interpersonal communication. This is in line with the current trend of Online Social Networks (OSN) where social interaction on basis of user profiles is being promoted. The rise of OSNs also includes enterprise software. While previous studies in this field deal with the question of adoption, the role of the user profile has been neglected. This study addresses this research gap by focusing on user profiles and evaluating the effect on SP, Trust and Enjoyment in an initial business interaction. The findings suggest that for an information exchange task, user profiles do not help to create SP. Thus, the potential of OSNs in enhancing communication may be constrained. Due to some limitations of this laboratory experiment and as part of future research, it is suggested to re-evaluate the findings in more natural settings.
User Profile, Social Presence, Trust, Enjoyment