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Consumption on the Internet: Who’s influencing who?

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Konstantinos Kasaras (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4287-0819), Georgios-Michail Klimis (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2223-2465), Martha Michailidou (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0527-5444)
Konstantinos Kasaras, Georgios-Michail Klimis, Martha Michailidou

Abstract


This paper exhibits the results of the experiment that took place at Panteion University of Athens. For the operationalization purposes of the experiment, a web site was constructed that hosted 12 songs from unknown artists, while 196 students participated. The main research question is related to how we decide to consume or decline a cultural product, after getting information about the decisions of the previous participants. Namely, to what extent each successive actor complies with the group behavior after observing their preceding choices and possibly abandons his own private selection. In order to estimate whether this imitation tendency can cause mass consumption phenomena, we used the cross-sectional absolute deviation (Chang et al., 2000) which measures the existence of herding. The decisions of the previous participants in the first experimental group were presented as the impersonal choice of users and in the second as the preferences of the opinion leaders in a network of participants. According to the outcomes of the research the influence of the impersonal mass choice is stronger compared to that of the opinion leaders who failed to cause a phenomenon of high statistical value.


Keywords


cultural industrie; cultural consumption; consumer behavior; herd behavior; social network analysis; opinion leaders; strong ties; influencers

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