Reputation can be defined as the “publics’ cumulative judgments of firms over time” (Fombrun & Shanley, 1990, p. 235), which are perceived “from available information about firms’ activities originating from the firms themselves, from the media, or from other monitors” (Fombrun & Shanley, 1990, p. 234). This implies that it is not only corporations themselves but also other parties that influence a company’s reputation. Furthermore, with the upsurge of social networking sites (SNS) use in the recent years, there has been a drastic increase in content creation by users in online space, which is likely to have an effect on the company’s corporate image. Thus, the present study seeks to examine whether there is a relationship between reputation rankings and the type and sentiment of words that appear about telecommunication companies in social media space.
The sample was derived from the ranking of the ‘2015 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient’, a study that measures reputation of companies. Seven telecommunication corporations were selected: Verizon communications (#66), Sprint Corporation (#72), T-Mobile (#75), AT&T (#76), Time Warner (#85), Charter Communications (#92) and Comcast (#93). In order to examine the semantics about the companies in social media space, the Facebook pages of the aforementioned telecommunication corporations were analyzed. The present study used various social and semantic network analysis tools; NodeXL (Smith et al., 2010) was used for data collection, WORDij (Danowski, 2013) was used for data analysis, NetDraw from the UCINET Software (Borgatti, Everett, & Freeman, 2002) was used for data visualization and LIWC (Pennebaker, Booth, & Francis, 2007) was used for sentiment analysis. Findings from the study will provide both theoretical and practical insights on how telecommunication corporations should effectively use social media for reputation management.