Research Summary

Viral Propagation of Consumer-Generated Content

by John A. Deighton


Within the last decade it has become possible for people with no special talent or technology to generate video content and disseminate it widely. Each year sees a number of "amateur" video products reaching global audiences of 5 million to 100 million. Some of these communication products have large economic consequences, for example in shaping consumer tastes in music and other entertainment industries, but also in propagating rumors and consumer complaints. This project models the way these audiences are built. It examines the interplay among new and traditional media in the dissemination process. It investigates the relative importance of specific media in the early and later stages of the process, as a function of the network properties of their audiences, their audience sizes, and the time to cycle content on each medium.