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Critical Mass and Discontinued Use of Microblogging

Posted: 28 Jan 2012  

Thomas Chesney

Nottingham University Business School

Shaun Lawson

University of Lincoln (UK), School of Computer Science

Date Written: January 26, 2012

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Chesney, Thomas and Lawson, Shaun, Critical Mass and Discontinued Use of Microblogging (January 26, 2012). Nottingham University Business School Research Paper No. 2012-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1992475

Thomas Chesney (Contact Author)

Nottingham University Business School ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Shaun Lawson

University of Lincoln (UK), School of Computer Science ( email )

Lincoln LN2
United Kingdom

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