Date of Original Version

3-2011

Type

Working Paper

Rights Management

All Rights Reserved

Abstract or Description

We develop and estimate a dynamic structural framework to analyze social media content creation and consumption behavior by employees within an enterprise. We focus in particular on blogging behavior by employees. The model incorporates two key features, which are ubiquitous in blogging forums: users face a trade-off between blog posting and blog reading as well as a trade-off between work-related content and leisure-related content. We apply the model to a unique dataset that comprises of the complete details of blog posting and reading behavior of 2396 employees over a 15-month period at a Fortune 1000 IT services and consulting firm. We find that blogging has a significant long-term effect in that it is only in the long term that the benefits from blogging outweigh the costs of content creation. There is also evidence of strong competition among employees with regard to attracting readership for their posts. While readership of leisure posts provides little direct utility, employees still post a significant amount of these posts because there is a significant spillover effect on the readership of work posts from the creation of leisure posts. In addition, we find that that the utility employees derive from posting work-related blogging is about 4 times what they derive from leisure blogging. Reading and writing work-related posts is more costly than leisure-related posts on an average. We conduct counterfactual experiments that provide insights into how different policies may affect employee behavior. We find that a policy of prohibiting leisure-related activities can hurt the knowledge sharing in enterprise setting. By demonstrating that there are positive spillovers from leisure-related blogging to work-related blogging, our results suggest that a policy of abolishing leisure-related content creation can inadvertently have adverse consequences on work-related content creation in an enterprise setting.

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