GOSIP in cyberspace: conceptualization and scale development for general online social interaction propensity

The interactive nature of the Internet has boosted online communication for both social and business purposes. However, individual consumers differ in their predisposition to interact online with others. Whereas an impressive stream of research has investigated media interactivity, the existence of individual differences in the use of different online media, that is, differences in general online social interaction propensity, has so far received less research attention. An individual's predisposition to interact online affects many important consumer behaviors, such as online engagement and participation. Thus, in this paper, we propose and conceptualize general online social interaction propensity as a trait-based individual difference that captures the differences between consumers in their predisposition to interact with others in an online environment. Based on eight studies, we develop and validate a scale for measuring general online social interaction propensity and demonstrate its usefulness in understanding diversity in levels of engagement and in predicting online interaction behaviors. •Consumers differ in their predisposition to enter in online communication.•We conceptualize an individual difference trait termed GOSIP.•We empirically develop and validate a scale to measure GOSIP.•We show GOSIP's importance as antecedent of engagement and online behavior.•Interactive marketers can use GOSIP to assess consumer differences in online behavior.