Network Characteristics and the Value of Collaborative User-Generated Content

Posted: 24 Oct 2012

See all articles by Sam Ransbotham

Sam Ransbotham

Boston College - Carroll School of Management

Gerald C. Kane

Boston College

Nicholas H. Lurie

University of Connecticut School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

User-generated content is increasingly created through the collaborative efforts of multiple individuals. In this paper, we argue that the value of collaborative user-generated content is a function both of the direct efforts of its contributors and of its embeddedness in the content–contributor network that creates it. An analysis of Wikipedia's WikiProject Medicine 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

Suggested Citation

Ransbotham, Sam and Kane, Gerald C. and Lurie, Nicholas H., Network Characteristics and the Value of Collaborative User-Generated Content (2012). Marketing Science, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2012; pp. 387-405; DOI: 10.1287/mksc.1110.0684 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2160806

Sam Ransbotham (Contact Author)

Boston College - Carroll School of Management ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.SamRansbotham.com

Gerald C. Kane

Boston College ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.profkane.com

Nicholas H. Lurie

University of Connecticut School of Business ( email )

Storrs, CT CT - Connecticut 06269
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.uconn.edu/person/nicholas-lurie/

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