Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1433645
 


 



Peer Influence and Information Diffusion in Online Social Networks: An Empirical Analysis


Rajiv Garg


McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin; Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Rahul Telang


Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Michael D. Smith


Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

May 6, 2009


Abstract:     
While peer influence in social networks has been studied for over four decades, opportunities for research have exploded with the Internet. Still, research into online social networks faces many of the same challenges discussed in the extant literature: homophily, selection problems, reflection problems, identifying the source of influence, and accounting for pre-existing knowledge. In this essay we present an approach for dissecting an archival dataset to address these challenges in the context of information diffusion in online social networks. We apply our approach to archival data collected from an online community for music and estimate the extent of information diffusion of songs or bands by peers in the network. We find that peers significantly aid diffusion: online users are six times more likely to discover new songs and three times more likely to discover new bands from peers in the network than they would have been without those peers.

Keywords: information diffusion, peer influence, new content discovery, online music community, social influence

JEL Classification: M31

working papers series


Not Available For Download

Date posted: April 20, 2011 ; Last revised: September 16, 2012

Suggested Citation

Garg, Rajiv and Telang, Rahul and Smith, Michael D., Peer Influence and Information Diffusion in Online Social Networks: An Empirical Analysis (May 6, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1433645

Contact Information

Rajiv Garg (Contact Author)
McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin ( email )
CBA 5.202
Austin, TX 78712
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.RajivGarg.org
Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )
4800 Forbes Ave
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
(412) 268-8717 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/rgarg/
Rahul Telang
Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )
4800 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-1155 (Phone)
Michael D. Smith
Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/~mds
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