Purpose: Viewing the blog technology as an integral part of the current social-technicalenvironment, this research aims to investigate whether the main influences on message diffusion within a blog community originate from external mass media channels or internal interpersonal communication channels.
Research Methodology: This study addressed two research questions: RQ1. Which channel, interpersonal or mass media, provides the main influence on the message diffusion in a blog community?
RQ2. How does the external mass media influence the message diffusion in a blog community? Specifically, I aimed to understand whether the interpersonal communication power in blog community would be influenced by the presence of a large number of news items related to the same topics being reported in the mass media. Furthermore, because the typical diffusion curve had an S shape, the diffusion patterns might differ between before and after the inflection point. I treated the week with the most news reports appeared in the mass media as an inflection point, which was used to divide the entire diffusion period into two distinct data sets. I then analyzed the patterns and explanatory power for changes between before and after the infection point. This methodology allowed us to determine whether the number of articles in a blog community increased due to the large quantities of related news items reported by the mass media.
Findings: The results indicate that the mass media is the main source of message diffusion and that the internal
communication power may increase as the opinion leader promotes these messages.
Research limitations/implications: Other factors that may influence message diffusion such as topic, design characteristics, and the existing social network have not been included.
Practical implications: For practice, the result indicates that the mass media and the blog might complement each other.
A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.