Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Pettey, Gary

Subject Headings

Internet videos, Online social networks, Internet users, Viral videos, Diffusion of innovations, Strength of ties, Homophily

Abstract

In the process of computer-mediated exchange, some online videos travel from one person to another resulting in the process of diffusion of the video. However, there are very few empirical investigations of the audience involved in the process. This exploratory research employs Rogers' diffusion of innovations as a theoretical framework to study online video users. Theories from social networks on tie strength and homophily are applied to create an integrated diffusion model. Based on survey data from college students, online video audience was profiled in two ways: one based on individual characteristics and another on activities with video content. Participants in the viral transmission process were found to be novelty-seekers, highly connected to others and appreciative of entertaining videos. An integrated model exploring the antecedents of viral transmission of online videos identified age, sex, Internet usage, and network connectedness as significant predictors. Contrary to previous findings, strong and homophilous ties were found to significantly contribute toward the viral spread. The findings of this study will add to the body of knowledge on diffusion research by enhancing understanding of individuals involved in an evolving medium. A profile of online video users will help marketers identify and reach the right audience

Included in

Communication Commons

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