Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1182631
 
 

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Examining the Diffusion of User-Generated Content in Online Social Networks


Jeongha Oh


University of Texas at Dallas

Anjana Susarla


Michigan State University - The Eli Broad College of Business and The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management

Yong Tan


University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business

July 28, 2008


Abstract:     
This paper is motivated by the success of You Tube, which is attractive to content creators and media companies for the potential to rapidly disseminate digital content. The tremendous variation in the success of videos posted online and the networked structure of interactions on You Tube lend itself to an inquiry about the role of social influence on content diffusion. Using a unique data set of video information and user information collected from You Tube, we find that evidence for a number of mechanisms by which social influence is transmitted, such as a preference for conformity, social learning and the role of innovators or opinion-makers. Such mechanisms of social interactions can play a huge role not only in the success of user-generated content, but also on the magnitude of that impact. Our results are in sharp contrast to earlier models of diffusion such as the Bass model that do not distinguish between different social processes that are responsible for the process of diffusion of content. Econometrically, the problem in identifying social influence is that individuals' choices depend in great part on the choices of other individuals, referred to as the 'reflection problem'. Another problem in identification is to distinguish between social contagion and user heterogeneity in the diffusion process. Our results are robust to potential self-selection according to user tastes, temporal heterogeneity and the reflection problem. Implications for researchers and managers are discussed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: Diffusion, Social Contagion, User-Generated Content, Social Networks, Reflection Problem

JEL Classification: C33

working papers series


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Date posted: July 28, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Oh, Jeongha and Susarla, Anjana and Tan, Yong, Examining the Diffusion of User-Generated Content in Online Social Networks (July 28, 2008). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1182631 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1182631

Contact Information

Jeongha Oh
University of Texas at Dallas ( email )
2601 North Floyd Road
Richardson, TX 75083
United States
Anjana Susarla (Contact Author)
Michigan State University - The Eli Broad College of Business and The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management ( email )
East Lansing, MI 48824-1121
United States
Yong Tan
University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )
Box 353226
Seattle, WA 98195-3226
United States
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