Network Characteristics and the Value of Collaborative User-Generated Content
Marketing Science, Forthcoming
35 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2011
Date Written: August 1, 2011
User-generated content is increasingly created through the collaborative efforts of multiple individuals. In this article, we argue that the value of collaborative user-generated content is a function both of the direct efforts of its contributors and its embeddedness in the content-contributor network that creates it. An analysis of Wikipedia's Medicine Wikiproject reveals a curvilinear relationship between the number of distinct contributors to user-generated content and viewership. A two-mode social network analysis demonstrates that the embeddedness of the content in the content-contributor network is positively related to viewership. Specifically, locally central content - characterized by greater intensity of work by contributors to multiple content sources - is associated with increased viewership. Globally central content - characterized by shorter paths to the other collaborative content in the overall network - also generates greater viewership. However, within these overall effects, there is considerable heterogeneity in how network characteristics relate to viewership. In addition, network effects are stronger for newer collaborative user-generated content. These findings have implications for fostering collaborative user-generated content.
Keywords: user-generated content, information value, Wiki, social network analysis
JEL Classification: M3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation