Bringing together considerations from three research trends (honest signals of collaboration, socio-semantic networks and homophily theory), we hypothesise that word use similarity and having similar social network positions are linked with the level of employees’ digital interaction. To verify our hypothesis, we analyse the communication of close to 1600 employees, interacting on the intranet communication forum of a large company. We study their social dynamics and the ‘honest signals’ that, in past research, proved to be conducive to employees’ engagement and collaboration. We find that word use similarity is the main driver of interaction, much more than other language characteristics or similarity in network position. Our results suggest carefully choosing the language according to the target audience and have practical implications for both company managers and online community administrators. Understanding how to better use language could, for example, support the development of knowledge sharing practices or internal communication campaigns.
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