It is important to understand the symbolic meaning of social media perceived by users in a particular communication context, as it may completely deviate from designers’ original intentions. In the exploratory case study of Moon Struck hotel in China, we investigate how customers interpret this hotel’s use of WeChat (the most dominate instant messaging tool in China) for business communication and how customers respond to messages received from WeChat in this context. Leveraging the symbolic interaction perspective, we report that customers’ interpretation towards the symbolic meaning of WeChat varies across personal and business communication contexts, and subsequently affects customers’ usage behaviour of WeChat. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 12 selected followers of the hotel’s WeChat account, as well as company executives at this hotel, we identify the key findings and discuss the theoretical implications and practical recommendations.
Chen, Renee Rui; Davison, Robert M.; and Ou, Carol Xiaojuan, "Using Social Media for Business Communication: A Symbolic Interaction Perspective" (2016). ACIS 2016 Proceedings. 27.