Date of Original Version

5-2010

Type

Working Paper

Rights Management

All Rights Reserved

Abstract or Description

We investigate the dynamics of blog reading behavior of employees in an enterprise blogosphere. A dynamic model is developed and calibrated using longitudinal data from a Fortune 1000 IT services firm. We identify a variety-seeking behavior of blog readers where they frequently switch from reading on one set of topics to another dynamically. Our results indicate that this switching behavior is induced by the textual characteristics (sentiment and quality) of the posts read, reader characteristics (status, location, expertise), or a readers' inherent desire for variety. Our modeling framework allows us to segregate the impact of post-textual characteristics on attracting readers from retaining them. We find that the textual characteristics that appeal to the sentiment of the reader affect both reader attraction and retention. However, textual characteristics that reflect only the quality of the posts affect only reader retention. The modeling framework and findings of this study highlight opportunities for a firm to influence blog reading behavior of its employees to align it with its goals. We provide directions to improve the utility of blogs as a medium for knowledge sharing. Overall, the blog reading dynamics estimation of this study contributes to the development of theoretically grounded understanding of reading behavior of individuals in online settings and more specifically in communities formed around user generated content.

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