DIGITALRULES.org

Florian Stahl @ March 24, 2013 3:26 pm

Information in Digital, Economic, and Social Networks

Arun Sundararajan, Foster Provost, Gal Oestreicher-Singer and Sinan Aral provides an comprehensive summary of research focusing on “information in networks”—its distribution, its diffusion, its inferential value, and its influence on social and economic outcomes. This summary will be published soon in the journal Information System Research

Information in Digital, Economic, and Social Networks

Abstract:

Digital technologies have made networks ubiquitous. A growing body of research is examining these networks to gain a better understanding of how firms interact with their consumers, how people interact with each other, and how current and future digital artifacts will continue to alter business and society. The increasing availability of massive networked data has led to several streams of inquiry across fields as diverse as computer science, economics, information systems, marketing, physics, and sociology. Each of these research streams asks questions that at their core involve “information in networks”—its distribution, its diffusion, its inferential value, and its influence on social and economic outcomes. We suggest a broad direction for research into social and economic networks. Our analysis describes four kinds of investigation that seem most promising. The first studies how information technologies create and reveal networks whose connections represent social and economic relationships. The second examines the content that flows through networks and its economic, social, and organizational implications. A third develops theories and methods to understand and utilize the rich predictive information contained in networked data. A final area of inquiry focuses on network dynamics and how information technology affects network evolution. We conclude by discussing several important cross-cutting issues with implications for all four research streams, which must be addressed if the ensuing research is to be both rigorous and relevant. We also describe how these directions of inquiry are interconnected: results and ideas will pollinate across them, leading to a new cumulative research tradition.

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Florian Stahl @ February 14, 2013 8:36 pm

Promotional Marketing or Word-of-Mouth? Evidence from Online Restaurant Reviews

A research paper about the effect of marketing efforts and online WOM on product sales will appear soon in the journal Information System Research

Promotional Marketing or Word-of-Mouth? Evidence from Online Restaurant Reviews

By Xianghua Lu, Sulin Ba, Lihua Huang and Yue Feng

Abstract:

The value of promotional marketing and word-of-mouth (WOM) is well recognized, but few studies have compared the effects of these two types of information in online settings. This research examines the effect of marketing efforts and online WOM on product sales by measuring the effects of online coupons, sponsored keyword search, and online reviews. It aims to understand the relationship between firms’ promotional marketing and WOM in the context of a third party review platform. Using a three-year panel data set from one of the biggest restaurant review websites in China, the study finds that both online promotional marketing and reviews have a significant impact on product sales, which suggests promotional marketing on third party review platforms is still an effective marketing tool. This research further explores the interaction effects between WOM and promotional marketing when these two types of information coexist. The results demonstrate a substitute relationship between the WOM volume and coupon offerings, but a complementary relationship between WOM volume and keyword advertising.

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Florian Stahl @ January 10, 2013 3:15 pm

When Social Media Can Be Bad for You: Community Feedback Stifles Consumer Creativity and Reduces Satisfaction with Self-Designed Products

Weblog Category: Consumer Behavior

A research paper about the impact of social media on consumers’ creativity and satisfaction (in the context of product design and product customization) will appear soon in the journal Information System Research

When Social Media Can Be Bad for You: Community Feedback Stifles Consumer Creativity and Reduces Satisfaction with Self-Designed Products

By Christian Hildebrand, Gerald Häubl, Andreas Herrmann and Jan R. Landwehr

Abstract:

Enabling consumers to self-design unique products that match their idiosyncratic preferences is the key value driver of modern mass customization systems. These systems are increasingly becoming “social,” allowing for consumer-to-consumer interactions such as commenting on each other’s self-designed products. The present research examines how receiving others’ feedback on initial product configurations affects consumers’ ultimate product designs and their satisfaction with these self-designed products. Evidence from a field study in a European car manufacturer’s brand community and from two follow-up experiments reveals that receiving feedback from other community members on initial self-designs leads to less unique final self-designs, lower satisfaction with self-designed products, lower product usage frequency, and lower monetary product valuations. We provide evidence that the negative influence of feedback on consumers’ satisfaction with self-designed products is mediated by an increase in decision uncertainty and perceived process complexity. The implications of socially enriched mass customization systems for both consumer welfare and seller profitability are discussed.

 

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Florian Stahl @ September 12, 2012 8:22 pm

Power and Strength of Online Friends

Weblog Category: Consumer Behavior

How strong is the influence of online friends? American researchers have investigated this question in a spectacular experiment on Facebook. 61 million members of the platform from the United States were involved – all without even knowing that they were part of a gigantic network analysis. The article got published recently in Nature.

A 61-million-person experiment in social influence and political mobilization

By  Robert M. Bond, Christopher J. Fariss,  Jason J. Jones, Adam D. I. Kramer, Cameron Marlow,  Jaime E. Settle & James H. Fowler

Abstract:

Human behaviour is thought to spread through face-to-face social networks, but it is difficult to identify social influence effects in observational studies and it is unknown whether online social networks operate in the same way. Here we report results from a randomized controlled trial of political mobilization messages delivered to 61 million Facebook users during the 2010 US congressional elections. The results show that the messages directly influenced political self-expression, information seeking and real-world voting behaviour of millions of people. Furthermore, the messages not only influenced the users who received them but also the users’ friends, and friends of friends. The effect of social transmission on real-world voting was greater than the direct effect of the messages themselves, and nearly all the transmission occurred between ‘close friends’ who were more likely to have a face-to-face relationship. These results suggest that strong ties are instrumental for spreading both online and real-world behaviour in human social networks.

 

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Florian Stahl @ August 20, 2012 5:09 pm

What Type of Social Media Personality Are You?

Stephanie Buck pubslished today an info graphic about the psychological types most likely to participate on specific social networks. More extroverts reported using Facebook than introverts, for instance. And people with inclinations toward Feeling spend more time browsing and interacting with people on Facebook, rather than those who tend toward Thinking. Read more…

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Florian Stahl @ June 16, 2012 6:06 am

What’s in a “Name”? Impact of Use of Customer Information in E-Mail Advertisements

A research paper about customization of e-mail communication and advertisment will appear soon in the journalInformation System Research

What’s in a “Name”? Impact of Use of Customer Information in E-Mail Advertisements

by Sunil Wattal, Rahul Telang, Tridas Mukhopadhyay and Peter Boatwright

Abstracts:

In this study, we examine how consumers respond to firms’ use of two types of information for personalization: product preferences and name. We collect a unique data set of over 10 million e-mail advertisements sent by a website to over 600,000 customers who could buy the advertised products from the online merchant. We estimate a two-stage hierarchical model using Bayesian analysis to account for observable and unobservable consumer heterogeneity. Our analysis suggests several interesting results regarding consumers’ responses to firms’ use of information. When firms use product-based personalization (where the use of information is not explicitly mentioned), consumers respond positively. On the other hand, consumers respond negatively when firms are explicit in their use of personally identifiable information (i.e., a personalized greeting). We also find that negative responses to personalized greetings are moderated by consumers’ familiarity with firms. The main contribution of this study is that it not only indicates the economic benefits of personalization in e-mails but also highlights consumers’ concerns over the use of information in personalization.

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Florian Stahl @ May 16, 2012 7:55 pm

Mine Your Own Business: Market-Structure Surveillance Through Text Mining

A research paper about a new opportunity to “listen” to consumers in the market in general and to its own customers in particula (by mining user-generated content) will appear soon in the journal Marketing Science:

Mine Your Own Business: Market-Structure Surveillance Through Text Mining

By  Netzer, Oded, Ronen Feldman, Jacob Goldenberg, and Moshe Fresko.

Abstracts:

Web 2.0 provides gathering places for internet users in blogs, forums, and chat rooms. These gathering places leave footprints in the form of colossal amounts of data. These data include consumers’ thoughts, beliefs, experiences, and even interactions. In this paper, we propose an approach to transform the Web 2.0 to a large, yet readily available, marketing field test. Exploring such online user-generated content offers the firm an opportunity to “listen” to consumers in the market in general and to its own customers in particular. By observing what customers write about the products in the category, the firm can get a better understanding of the market structure, the competitive landscape, and the features discussed about its and the competition’s products. The difficulty in obtaining such insights is that consumers’ postings are often not easy to syndicate. A decoding mechanism is needed in order to transform these raw qualitative data into meaningful knowledge. To address these issues, we developed an advanced text mining approach (called CARE) and combine it with semantic network analysis tools. We demonstrate this approach using two cases; sedan cars and diabetes drugs; generating sensible perceptual maps and meaningful insights, without interviewing a single consumer.

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Florian Stahl @ April 12, 2012 3:23 pm

What Motivates People to Purchase Digital Items on Virtual Community Websites? The Desire for Online Self-Presentation

A research paper about selling digital items such as avatars on virtual community websites will appear soon in the journal Information System Research

What Motivates People to Purchase Digital Items on Virtual Community Websites? The Desire for Online Self-Presentation

By  Hee-Woong Kim, Hock Chuan Chan and Atreyi Kankanhalli

Abstracts:

The sale of digital items, such as avatars and decorative objects, is becoming an important source of revenue for virtual community (VC) websites. However, some websites are unable to leverage this source of revenue, and there is a corresponding lack of understanding about what motivates people to purchase digital items in VCs. To explain the phenomenon, we develop a model based on the theory of self-presentation. The model proposes that the desire for online self-presentation is a key driver for such purchases. We also hypothesize that the social influence factors of online self-presentation norms and VC involvement as well as personal control in the form of online presentation self-efficacy are antecedents of the desire for online self-presentation. The model was validated by using survey data collected from Cyworld (N = 217) and Habbo (N = 197), two online social network communities that have been pioneers in the sale of digital items. This work contributes to our understanding of the purchase of digital items by extending the theory of self-presentation and adds to the broader line of research on online identity. It also lends insights into how VC providers can tap this source of revenue.

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Florian Stahl @ February 22, 2012 8:07 am

The Cross-Purposes of Cross-Posting: Boundary Reshaping Behavior in Online Discussion Communities

A research paper with insights about the content boundaries of discussion communities will appear soon in the journal Information System Research

The Cross-Purposes of Cross-Posting: Boundary Reshaping Behavior in Online Discussion Communities

By Brian S. Butler and Xiaoqing Wang

Abstract:

Increasingly, online discussion communities are used to support activities ranging from software development to political campaigns. An important feature of an online discussion community is its content boundaries, which are individual perceptions of what materials and discussions are part of the community and what are not, and how that community is related to others within a larger system. Yet in spite of its importance, many community infrastructures allow individual participants to reshape content boundaries by simultaneously associating their contributions with multiple online discussion communities. This reshaping behavior is a controversial aspect of the creation and management of many types of online discussion communities. On one hand, many communities explicitly discourage boundary reshaping behaviors in their frequently asked questions or terms-of-use document. On the other hand, community infrastructures continue to allow such reshaping behaviors. To explain this controversy, we theorize how the extent of boundary reshaping in an online discussion community has simultaneously positive and negative effects on its member dynamics and responsiveness. We test predictions about the conflicting effects of reshaping behaviors with 60 months of longitudinal data from 140 USENET newsgroups, focusing on cross-posting activities as a form of reshaping behavior. Empirical results are consistent with the proposed hypotheses that reshaping behaviors within a discussion community affect member dynamics and community responsiveness in both positive and negative ways. Taken together, the findings highlight the boundary-related design challenges faced by managers seeking to support ongoing activity within online discussion communities.

 

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Florian Stahl @ February 19, 2012 8:05 am

Music Blogging, Online Sampling, and the Long Tail

A research paper with with insights about the impact of blogging and sampling on music consumption will appear soon in the journal Information System Research

Music Blogging, Online Sampling, and the Long Tail

By Sanjeev Dewan and Jui Ramaprasad

Abstract:

Online social media such as blogs are transforming how consumers make consumption decisions, and the music industry is at the forefront of this revolution. Based on data from a leading music blog aggregator, we analyze the relationship between music blogging and full-track sampling, drawing on theories of online social interaction. Our results suggest that intensity of music sampling is positively associated with the popularity of a blog among previous consumers and that this association is stronger in the tail than in the body of music sales distribution. At the same time, the incremental effect of music popularity on sampling is also stronger in the tail relative to the body. In the last part of the paper, we discuss the implications of our results for music sales and potential long-tailing of music sampling and sales. Put together, our analysis sheds new light on how social media are reshaping music sharing and consumption.

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