Is there a Twitter effect on product adoption?

Microblogging word of mouth (MWOM) through Twitter and similar services constitutes a new type of word-of-mouth communication that combines the real-time and personal influence of traditional (offline) word of mouth with electronic word of mouth's ability to reach large audiences.

MWOM has the potential to increase the speed of dissemination of post-purchase quality evaluations from consumers and thus has been argued to affect early product adoption behaviours.

For industries that exploit information asymmetries between producers and consumers when releasing new products-such as the motion picture industry, which is known to routinely hype up new releases with big marketing budgets-this 'Twitter effect' would threaten existing business models by enabling consumers to make better informed adoption decisions.

This study develops a conceptual model of the impact of MWOM on early product adoption, including possible moderating forces, and tests it in the context of the motion picture industry. The authors study 105 movies that were widely released in North American theaters between October 2009 and October 2010, and all 4 million MWOM messages about these movies sent via Twitter on their respective opening weekend, to look for evidence of the 'Twitter effect.'

Want to know if the (in)famous 'Twitter effect' really exists? Download the full working paper below.


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