Selecting Online Videos from Graphics, Text, and View Counts: The Moderation of Popularity Bandwagons


  • W. Wayne Fu

    1. Associate Professor in Communication Research, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
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Little is known about the counteracting influences of different recommending information in various presentation modes on Internet users' selection of content. Considering user-contributed video selection, this study examines how content introductions supplied by contributors (as video descriptions), system-aggregated user popularity signals, and a hybrid of system- and user-generated introduction—the thumbnail preview—contribute to or compete with bandwagon effects on video viewing selections. Based on data from a video-sharing site, the analysis detects bandwagon effects from incidental aggregated user responses: When a video displays a high view count, its popularity over others snowballs further. The bandwagon effect is moderated by thumbnail use regardless of textual introductions, and by text when no thumbnail appears.