Social Networks and the Diffusion of User-Generated Content: Evidence from YouTube

With the popularization of the social computing, people cannot really live without social network. in the past few decades, there is a huge growth on the social network and user-generated content (Peck et al. 2008).

Given the ease of creating a personal page or channel on YouTube, a user can engage his videos himself for the self-expression (Raymond 2001) and the peer recognition (Resnick et al. 2000) social interaction with each other. A channel on YouTube is used to display content that users uploaded, the videos form other users, the favorite videos of the channel, also with the friends and subscribers. In this case, this function of channel has blurred the boundaries between creators and consumers. On the other hand, the friend network on the YouTube is the result of mutual agreement, which can be seemed as an undirected network. A friend relationship on YouTube can be  initiated  from one to another by an invitation and this would need the confirmation from the user who accept the invitation.

in this article, Susarla et al. (2012) are motivated by the success of YouTube, which is attractive to meet the satisfaction of both creator and corporation for rapidly broadcast its digital content to the public. It is obvious that the interaction between poster and viewer on the YouTube and the variation of categories about the successful videos posted online has led to the significant effect on social influence. Base on the data set of video information and the information about the user which collected from the YouTube, Susarla et al. (2012) found out that the social influence effects not only on deciding which one becomes popular, but also on the magnitude of that impact. To be more specific, to whom the video would effect and how long it would effect. On the other hand, some evidence has pointed out the dynamics of digital content diffusion structured through a network, namely a preference for conformity and homophily, and the role of social networks in guiding viewer search and discover the videos.

As a result, Susaria et al. (2012) have proved that channels from YouTube that are central in the subscriber network and local friend network both have a significant impact on the rate of diffusion. Moreover, a channel’s centrality in the incoming subscriber network  and local friend network both have a significant positive impact on the rate of diffusion in the initial phase of content diffusion as well.

In conclusion, the results offer the distinguish between the different types of information transmission in various types of social interaction. Additionally, it demonstrates that social network impact the economic outcomes by structuring different information to different actors, and this would have a great impact on others’ decisions, perceptions, and behavior.


Susarla A, Oh J H, Tan Y. Social networks and the diffusion of user-generated content: Evidence from YouTube[J]. Information Systems Research, 2012, 23(1): 23-41.

Raymond, E. 2001. The Cathedral and the Bazaar. O’Reilly, Sebastopol, CA.

Peck, R. S., L. Y. Zhou, V. B. Anthony, K. Madhukar. 2008. Con- sumer Internet, Bear Stearns equity research report. Bear Stearns, New York.

Resnick, P., R. Zeckhauser, E. Friedman, K. Kuwabara. 2000. Repu- tation systems. Comm. ACM 43(12) 45–48.

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