Critical Mass and Discontinued Use of Microblogging
Nottingham University Business School
University of Lincoln (UK), School of Computer Science
January 26, 2012
Nottingham University Business School Research Paper No. 2012-03
This study compares a critical mass of adopters with a critical mass of those who discontinue their adoption of social media, using microblogging as a case. The paper uses computer simulation. A network of reflex agents is simulated where each agent has an unchanging threshold and will send a message (a microblog post) if the number of messages they receive within any one time period is greater than than it. In the first study the number of agents that start to post is varied, and in the second the number of agents that stop posting is varied. The studies show that a critical mass of leavers can cause a community to fail and that this mass can potentially be as small as the mass needed to influence a community to succeed, although given a certain critical mass, their leaving is less likely to cause failure than their adopting is success. The reason a critical mass has influence lies in the network structure. Few technology adoption studies focus on discontinued use, and few use simulation as a method.
Keywords: technology fad, simulation, social network
Date posted: January 28, 2012