Assimilate or Differentiate? Contributors’ Choice of Subjects in User-Generated Content
Decision Sciences, Forthcoming
31 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 9, 2019
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
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