The study from scholars at Columbia Business School and the University of Pittsburgh questions the sustainability of Twitter. "Get ready for a TV-like Twitter," said Professor Olivier Toubia, co-author of the study.
The research examined the motivations behind why everyday people, with no financial incentive, contribute to Twitter.     

The study examined roughly 2500 non-commercial Twitter users. In a field experiment, Toubia and Professor Andrew T Stephen randomly selected some of those users and, through the use of other synthetic accounts, increased the selected group's followers.
At first, they noticed that as the selected group's followers increased, so did the posting rate. However, when that group reached a level of stature, a moderately large amount of followers, the posting rate declined significantly.
"Users began to realize it was harder to continue to attract more followers with their current strategy, so they slowed down," Toubia added.
"When posting activity no longer leads to additional followers, people will view Twitter as a non-evolving, static structure, like TV," Toubia said.
Based on the analyses, Toubia and Stephen predict Twitter, posts by everyday people will slow down, yet celebrities and commercial users will continue to post for financial gain.
"Twitter will become less of a communications vehicle and more of a content-delivery vehicle, much like TV. Peer-to-peer contact is likely to evolve to the next great thing, but with 500 million followers, Twitter isn't just going to disappear. It's just going to become a new way to follow celebrities, corporations, and the like," said Toubia.


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