Shortly after 1:00 p.m. ET on February 22nd, Twitter welcomed its 500 millionth registered user. Many of those users are inactive, but what drives those who are devout tweeters?
Puzzled by the social media platform's popularity, Prof. Olivier Toubia, our Center research director, sought to uncover evidence of what motivates individuals, as opposed to companies, to continuously post 140-character long messages. Toubia explains, "Most users have no financial incentive to post or follow others, so what is the basic motivation for being active?"
To explore the value of Twitter for non-commercial use, Toubia, along with Andrew Stephen (PhD '09), Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, studied the relationship between user-response and subsequent increases in acquired number of followers. Their findings suggest two distinct groups of Twitter users – those empowered by what Toubia and Stephen term, "social currency," or a way to boost social status, and those incited by the simple desire to share information.
Read the full Ideas at Work Feature to learn more about the study and its implications.