Assimilate or Differentiate? Contributors’ Choice of Subjects in User-Generated Content

Decision Sciences, Forthcoming

31 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2019

See all articles by Zhihong Ke

Zhihong Ke

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

De Liu

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

Alok Gupta

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

Daniel Brass

University of Kentucky - Gatton College of Business and Economics

Date Written: July 9, 2019

Abstract

A key to the content diversity on user-generated content platforms is what subjects users choose to contribute on. This research investigates how two factors can shape contributors’ subject choice decisions, namely, the amount of existing content and content contributed by online friends, or “friend content.” Our experimental findings show that both the amount of existing content and friend content can shape a contributor’s subject choice decisions: ceteris paribus, contributors prefer subjects with less existing content and ones with friend content when the amount of existing content is the same. In addition, contributors’ preference for subjects with friend content weakens as the amount of existing content on other subjects decreases. Our findings hold important implications for research and practice in user-generated content platforms and beyond.

Keywords: subject choices, social network friends, assimilation, differentiation, user-generated content

Suggested Citation

Ke, Zhihong and Liu, De and Gupta, Alok and Brass, Daniel, Assimilate or Differentiate? Contributors’ Choice of Subjects in User-Generated Content (July 9, 2019). Decision Sciences, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3417261 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3417261

Zhihong Ke (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

321 19th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN MN 55455
United States

De Liu

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Alok Gupta

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Daniel Brass

University of Kentucky - Gatton College of Business and Economics ( email )

Dept. of Management
Lexington, KY 40506
United States
859-257-4260 (Phone)
859-257-3577 (Fax)

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