BITlab: Behavior Information Technology

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Communication Arts & Sciences
Michigan State University
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The Power of the Ask in Social Media

by: Rick Wash and Cliff Lampe

Abstract

Social computing and social media systems depend on contributions from users. We posit the existence of a latent demand for contribution: many users want to contribute but don’t. We then test a simple interface that can induce these users to actually contribute: we display a popup window asking users to contribute. In a real-world randomized field experiment, we found that asking them to contribute right now is ineffective, but reminding the users to contribute actually leads to approximately a 23% increase in contributions with no reduction in quality. However, this effect wanes as users habituate to the popups.

Reference

Rick Wash and Cliff Lampe. “The Power of the Ask in Social MediaProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). Seattle, WA. February 2012.

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