The purpose of this paper is to seek reasons for some videos going viral over YouTube (a type of social media platform).
Using YouTube APIs (Application Programming Interface) and Webometrics analyst tool, the authors collected data on about 100 all-time-most-viewed YouTube videos and information about the users associated with the videos. The authors constructed and tested an empirical model to understand the relationship among users’ social and non-social capital (e.g. User Age, Gender, View Count, Subscriber, Join Date, Total Videos Posted), video characteristics (Post Date, Duration, and Video Category), external network capital (in-links and hit counts), and Virality (Likes, Dislikes, Favorite Count, View Count, and Comment Count). Partial least square and Webometric analysis was used to explore the association among the constructs.
Among other findings, the results showed that popularity of the videos was not only the function of YouTube system per se, but that network dynamics (e.g. in-links and hits counts) and offline social capital (e.g. fan base and fame) play crucial roles in the viral phenomenon, particularly view count.
The authors for the first time constructed and tested an empirical model to find out the determinants of viral phenomenon over YouTube.
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