Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Leah Omilion-Hodges

Second Advisor

Julie Apker


Individuals use social networking sites (SNS) for a variety of reasons including engaging with popular companies and brands. This research explores literature in media ecology, uses and gratifications, communication accommodation, social exchange and credibility on social networking as a means to explore how organization’s maintain and increase relationships with their publics. A between-groups 2x3x2 experimental study was conducted wherein 189 participants, either belonging to the Millennial Generation or to Generation Z viewed SNS comments by a popular company. Half of the posts included a graphic that said "thanks!" while the other posts were text-based. In addition, comments by the organization were left 20 minutes, 5 hours, or 2 days after the original post by the customer, to test the differences in minutes, hours, and days. Participants then completed several standard measures of communication quality. Results indicate that both Millennials and members of Generation Z prefer brands to comment on SNS after a longer period of time had elapsed, such as 5 hours or 2 days, rating 20 minutes negatively. As the significance level of differences between the two generations was above 0.05, the two generations were tested as one group. Results indicate that, unlike older Millennials, younger Millennials and members of Generation Z appear to respond alike give organizations more time to respond to social media posts. Future studies, however, should include a wider range of age between the two generations, as tested too similar for statistical significance.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted