Deserting the innocent: the paradoxical effects of youthfulness in influencer apologies

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Simpson, Braden R.
University of Lethbridge. Dhillon School of Business
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dhillon School of Business
Prior research on crisis communications predicts that apologies from youthful (vs. older) influencers generate more social support because younger influencers are perceived as more honest and innocent and therefore deserving of support. Ironically, I found that the inherent innocence of young influencers can have seemingly undesirable consequences because it reduces the amount of support extended to them in times of crisis. Specifically, youthful (vs. older) influencers on YouTube received less social support (i.e., fewer like votes) for their apology videos. Further, this negative relationship was magnified when the influencer was perceived as less responsible for the transgression. I account for these contradictory results using the helping paradox. By exploring youthfulness in influencer apologies, I provide a more nuanced understanding of the value of like votes on social media. Thus, fewer like votes can be good or bad depending on the circumstance.
Marketing , Public relations , Influencer , Apology , Youthfulness , Like votes , YouTube , Helping paradox