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ABSTRACT

This research represents the first systematic empirical examination of the motivation to spread word of mouth about consumption activities in order to self-express, a phenomenon that has been observed in both the academic literature and the popular press. Consumption-focused self-expression is a motivation to engage in word-of-mouth communication that is distinct from other word-of-mouth motivations that have been discussed in the literature. This work defines consumption-focused self-expression word of mouth as communication about one's consumption activities for the purpose of expressing one's self-concept and attracting attention to oneself. A scale to measure consumption-focused self-expression word of mouth is developed and shown to exhibit a consistent scale structure, acceptable reliability, and convergent, discriminant, nomological, and predictive validity. Scores on the consumption-focused self-expression word-of-mouth scale are shown to predict differences in the quantity and nature of consumers’ actual word-of-mouth communications via the social networking Web site Facebook.