Network Size and Content Generation on Social Media Platforms

Production and Operations Management, 30(5): 1406-1426

38 Pages Posted: 31 May 2016 Last revised: 11 Jun 2021

See all articles by Zaiyan Wei

Zaiyan Wei

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management

Mo Xiao

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management - Department of Economics

Rong Rong

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Date Written: June 2021

Abstract

Social media has been increasingly integrated into firm operations. Past literature documented the operational value of the content generated by social media users but paid little attention to the users’ incentives to generate and share content. We fill in the gap by linking a user’s social network to her content contribution. Specifically, we distinguish the role of the followee network (the group of people being followed by the user) from the role of the follower network. When a user follows more people, she may spend more time in consuming content than generating content (the substitution effect); she may gain more conflicting information from her followees, obfuscating her incentives to generate content (the information overload effect). Conversely, gathering more information from her followees may facilitate her own content generation (the information sharing effect). Through different identification strategies using multiple datasets from two influential social media platforms, we find that the effects of followees and followers are asymmetric in signs and different in magnitudes. Most notably, a user generates less content with a larger followee network, especially when she faces more time constraints. Our findings suggest social media platforms and companies leveraging social media in their operations incorporate network analytics to promote their user engagement.

Keywords: Social Media, User-Generated Content, Peer Effects, Network Analytics

Suggested Citation

Wei, Zaiyan and Xiao, Mo and Rong, Rong, Network Size and Content Generation on Social Media Platforms (June 2021). Production and Operations Management, 30(5): 1406-1426, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2786709 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2786709

Zaiyan Wei (Contact Author)

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management ( email )

100 Grant St
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2076
United States
(765) 494-5958 (Phone)

Mo Xiao

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management - Department of Economics ( email )

McClelland Hall
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States

Rong Rong

University of Massachusetts Amherst ( email )

United States
7035319637 (Phone)

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