Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1609611
 
 

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Fresh Is Best: The Effect of Source Activity on the Decision to Retransmit Content in Social Media


Andrew T. Stephen


University of Pittsburgh

Yaniv Dover


Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College.

Lev Muchnik


Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration; New York University (NYU) - Department of Information, Operations, and Management Sciences

Jacob Goldenberg


Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration

January 24, 2014


Abstract:     
Everyday, people share billions of pieces of content such as news, videos, and photos in social media. For shared content to propagate through social media, people must deliberately retransmit it (i.e., pass it on). Accordingly, individuals’ retransmission decisions play an essential role in influencing the extent to which information spreads over online social networks. We theorize that social media users prefer to retransmit fresh and current content because they do not want to risk sending information that their audiences are already aware of. However, it is often impossible to know if other people will deem a piece of content to be fresh. Thus, we propose that people infer content freshness from a previously unstudied source characteristic: social activity (posting frequency). Support for this conceptualization is provided by two types of data. First, an analysis of real-world data from Twitter shows that content posted by higher-activity sources propagates more than content posted by lower-activity sources. Second, four experiments demonstrate that social media users are more likely to retransmit content from higher-activity sources because they perceive content from higher-activity sources to be fresher.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 45

Keywords: diffusion, social sharing, networks, social media, activity, viral marketing, word of mouth, retransmission, freshness, inferences, content, source activity

JEL Classification: M3, M31

working papers series


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Date posted: May 17, 2010 ; Last revised: January 25, 2014

Suggested Citation

Stephen, Andrew T. and Dover, Yaniv and Muchnik, Lev and Goldenberg, Jacob, Fresh Is Best: The Effect of Source Activity on the Decision to Retransmit Content in Social Media (January 24, 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1609611 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1609611

Contact Information

Andrew T. Stephen (Contact Author)
University of Pittsburgh ( email )
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.andrewstephen.net
Yaniv Dover
Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College. ( email )
100 Tuck Hall
Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-6468136 (Phone)
Lev Muchnik
Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration ( email )
Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
New York University (NYU) - Department of Information, Operations, and Management Sciences ( email )
44 West Fourth Street
New York, NY 10012
United States
Jacob Goldenberg
Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration ( email )
Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
972-2-5883226 (Phone)
972-2-58813 (Fax)
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