Some Users Pack a Wallop: Measuring the Impact of Core Users on the Participation of Others in Online Social Systems

Thomas M. Lento, Eric Gleave, Marc A. Smith, Howard T. Welser

This study investigates how heavily active contributors affect recruitment and retention in online social systems. We find that core enthusiasts are more successful recruiters, their recruits are more likely to become enthusiasts, and interacting with enthusiasts makes users less likely to exit the system. We also find evidence that strong dyadic ties between non-enthusiasts help extend active careers in online social systems. Implications include considerations for community growth and retention based on the influence of these core users.

Subjects: 1. Applications; 6. Computer-Human Interaction

Submitted: Feb 15, 2008

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