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Using Information Cascading Principle on YouTube vidoes

As a part of the generation immersed in a generation that’s defined by the number of votes you get on social networking sites, be it ‘likes’ on Facebook, ‘upvotes’ on YouTube, ‘retweets’ on Twitter or ‘followers’ on Instagram, I have always wondered how certain celebrities manage to rake up millions upon millions of followers and hits, even though they contribute very little, if not nothing to the development of the entertainment community or society at large. In this blog post, I shall discuss how celebrities make use of Information Cascading to garner these millions of seemingly popular votes, by taking advantage of information cascading. I will focus primarily on YouTube videos.

A few months ago, Korean superstar Psy’s music video, ‘Gangnam Style’ took the world by storm. In about a little more than 2 months it had about 540 million viewers. On the day this blog was written, viewership stood at a staggering 2.1 Billion views. Similarly, Jennifer Lopez’s ‘On the Floor’ has about 790 million views. A more recent success, Meghan Trainor’s ‘All about that Bass’, has significantly less hits, at 299 million. So how exactly do these videos get such popularity? One of the answers, is something we’ve learnt in INFO 2040 this semester: the concept of Information Cascading.

Artists like Psy, Trainor and the like have access to a vast number of resources. They use advertising, analyze market trends and then develop very simplistic videos on often very controversial topics to generate a vast majority of these views and hits. Information Cascading is the principle on which this operates. Artists release videos at times when they are likely to generate the greatest public reaction – this is indeed why all movies and videos are released on Thursdays and Fridays. The first, very active, 10,000-100,000 or so viewers are very easy to attract because the artists primarily reach out to the already large following they have on YouTube. Because most of these subscribers are passionate fans, the first set of upvotes is very easy to come by. The surge in the upvotes soon after, is explained by information cascading. Later viewers, often see only 60-70% of these music videos. Seeing the first base of likes that the video already has, they resort to liking it as well. This tends to continue for a period of about 2-3 weeks, when these videos receive a staggering number of likes very quickly. Trainor’s new song is currently at that nascent stage. The number of likes that these videos get is proportional to the number of views. In the 2-3 weeks that the cascade lasts, the number of views grows exponentially. After this period, the number of new viewers is reduced which leads to a stagnation in the number of likes (as shown in the graphs). The YouTube market then shifts to the next pop star and the next music video. Below are images demonstrating this: The information cascade has already happened for the older ones, and is taking place right now for the other.  JLO PSYBASS








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November 2014