Collective Preference in Online Communities and the Future of Anonymous Innovation in the Enterprise

Friday, January 18, 2013 ( 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm )

Location: Babbio 104

Howe School Talk

Jeremiah Crittenden Johnson, Ph.D. candidate University of Southern California


Research into collective action has inspired a number of authors to examine the interplay between our classic understanding of relationally driven "connective" systems, and the emergence of "collective" systems which function on generalized exchange. We tend to view these collective systems as a classical information repository, yet they have evolved beyond sharing ideas and artifacts, toward ranking, rating, and voting to express collective preference. With these changes in mind, there is a growing theoretical gap between our understanding of how groups of identifiable individuals interact to support a collective action, and how anonymous individuals develop collective preference through the use of both positive and negative feedback. This collective preference creation process requires a focus on longitudinal voting trajectories as the method by which artifacts become visible and achieve long term popularity within the community. Analysis of this anonymous voting process will determine whether the earliest participants set a critical trajectory that regularly predicts the long term popularity of artifacts, or that preferences outside this time period have a significant effect regardless of participant experience. Theoretical implications include the development of a longitudinal understanding of the anonymous collective preference process that highlights the importance of preference visibility and individual experience to predict long term artifact popularity. This research also enables owners of emergent technologies that use voting to rate and rank artifacts, such as Open Innovation communities, to identify preference trajectories associated with long term popularity early in the voting process.



Jeremiah Johnson is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He also has an MBA and BA in Information Systems from New Mexico State University. Prior to pursuing a doctorate, Mr. Johnson was employed as a Systems Analyst by SAIC at Sandia National Labratories.

His research interests include Online Communities, Evolution of Collective Preference, Big Data & Data Analytics, Security Professionals, Network Security, Open Innovation, Social Media, Identity and Anonymity, Wikipedia, and Serious Games.


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