Being seen to care: the relationship between self-presentation and contributions to online pro-social crowdfunding campaigns

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Abstract

Although the potential for image enhancement has long been considered one of the key motivations for prosocial behavior in conventional offline settings, comparatively little evidence exists as to whether the same assumptions hold for online interactions. Our study addresses this gap in the literature by investigating whether self-presentation leads to variations in prosocial behaviors among contributors to online pro-social crowdfunding campaigns. We present an analysis of data from the Internet crowdfunding platform ‘Lendwithcare’, which combines the results of a tailored survey with recorded patterns of actual funding activity. By using the presence of a publicly visible lender profile as a proxy for image consciousness, we hypothesize that self-presenting funders will increase levels of visible activity (number of loans made), but will not vary levels of non-visible activity (average monetary value of each loan) relative to other funders. We find empirical evidence that is largely consistent with our hypotheses. Our findings are likely to be of interest to both academics and practitioners seeking to better understand funder motivations and prosocial behaviors in online settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-55
Number of pages11
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume83
Early online date19 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Self-presentation
  • Image consciousness
  • Pro-social behavior
  • Crowdfunding
  • Online
  • RCUK
  • EPSRC
  • EP/K039784/1

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