Staying, switching, and multiplatforming of user-generated content activities : a 12-year panel study

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Lei Hou
  • Anqi Shen
  • Wei Wang
  • Ang Luo
  • Heng Lu

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationInternet Research
Online published22 Jul 2022
Publication statusOnline published - 22 Jul 2022


Purpose – User-generated content (UGC) refers to semantic and behavioral traces created by users on various social media platforms. While several waves of platforms have come and gone, the long-term sustainability of UGC activities has become a critical question that bears significance for theoretical understanding and social media practices.
Design/methodology/approach – Based on a large and lengthy dataset of both blogging and microblogging activities of the same set of users, a multistate survival analysis was applied to explore the patterns of users' staying, switching and multiplatforming behaviors, as well as the underlying driving factors. 
Findings – UGC activities are generally unsustainable in the long run, and natural attrition is the primary reason, rather than competitive switching to new platforms. The availability of leisure time, expected gratification and previous experiences drive users' sustainability. 
Originality/value – The authors adopted actual behavioral data from two generations of platforms instead of survey data on users' switching intentions. Four types of users are defined: loyal, switcher, multiplatformer and dropout. As measured by the transitions among the four states, the different sustainability behaviors are thereby studied via an integrated framework. These two originalities bridge gaps in the literature and offer new insights into exploring user sustainability in social media.

Research Area(s)

  • Multistate survival analysis, Push-pull-mooring, Time availability, User-generated content (UGC), Uses and gratifications