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  • PhD
  • Master of Philosophy


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Dr Charmaine Glavas
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Business & Law
Dr Frank Mathmann
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Business & Law


Social media has become an integral part of our lives – we click, like and share posts with our personal and professional networks each day. The concept of sharing is activated by psychological stimulation, be it emotional or physical (Tellis et al., 2019). But why are certain types of online content more viral than others?

Achieving ‘virality’ is not random and isn’t just about creating engaging content. Instead there are mechanics that are planned to achieve this type of ‘social currency’. Given humans are inherently emotional, we are both motivated and activated by emotions and therefore they are one of the key aspects behind sharing (Tellis et al., 2019).

Drawing on regulatory mode theory (i.e., Kanze et al., 2019; Kruglanski et al., 2000) the proposed study seeks to examine how emotion shapes virality by analysing the language entrepreneurs use across social media to achieve increased sharing and viral messaging by shaping social media users' emotions.


Kanze, D., Conley, M. A., & Higgins, E. T. (2019). The motivation of mission statements: How regulatory mode influences workplace discrimination. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 166, 84-103.

Kruglanski, A. W., Thompson, E. P., Higgins, E. T., Atash, M., Pierro, A., Shah, J. Y., & Spiegel, S. (2000). To "do the right thing" or to "just do it": locomotion and assessment as distinct self-regulatory imperatives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(5), 793.

Tellis, G. J., MacInnis, D. J., Tirunillai, S., & Zhang, Y. (2019). What drives virality (sharing) of online digital content? The critical role of information, emotion, and brand prominence. Journal of Marketing, 83(4), 1-20.


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