'Just the Facts:' Exploring the Relationship Between Emotional Language and Member Satisfaction in Enterprise Online Communities
Online enterprise communities often have clear informational goals, for example, for experts to answer novices’ factual questions. However, emotional support is also critical for developing online social relationships. But what is the optimal balance between informational and emotional communication for such communities? To address this, we develop and validate a model to assess the relative prevalence of emotional versus factual communication. We next test hypotheses about how this prevalence relates to community member satisfaction in enterprise communities. Overall, factual, not emotional, posts predict perceived member satisfaction. This relationship also depends on community subtype. Although prior work argues that Communities of Practice (CoPs) rely on frequent emotional communication, instead we found CoPs showed less satisfaction when members focused on emotional concerns. We discuss implications for both community tool design and the practices of community leaders.