• Can Social News Websites Pay for Content and Curation? The SteemIt Cryptocurrency Model

      Thelwall, Mike (SAGE Publishing, 2017-12-15)
      SteemIt is a Reddit-like social news site that pays members for posting and curating content. It uses micropayments backed by a tradeable currency, exploiting the Bitcoin cryptocurrency generation model to finance content provision in conjunction with advertising. If successful, this paradigm might change the way in which volunteer-based sites operate. This paper investigates 925,092 new members’ first posts for insights into what drives financial success in the site. Initial blog posts on average received $0.01, although the maximum accrued was $20,680.83. Longer, more sentiment-rich or more positive comments with personal information received the greatest financial reward in contrast to more informational or topical content. Thus, there is a clear financial value in starting with a friendly introduction rather than immediately attempting to provide useful content, despite the latter being the ultimate site goal. Follow-up posts also tended to be more successful when more personal, suggesting that interpersonal communication rather than quality content provision has driven the site so far. It remains to be seen whether the model of small typical rewards and the possibility that a post might generate substantially more are enough to incentivise long term participation or a greater focus on informational posts in the long term.
    • She’s Reddit: A source of statistically significant gendered interest information

      Thelwall, Mike; Stuart, Emma (Elsevier, 2018-10-19)
      Information about gender differences in interests is necessary to disentangle the effects of discrimination and choice when gender inequalities occur, such as in employment. This article assesses gender differences in interests within the popular social news and entertainment site Reddit. A method to detect terms that are statistically significantly used more by males or females in 181 million comments in 100 subreddits shows that gender affects both the selection of subreddits and activities within most of them. The method avoids the hidden gender biases of topic modelling for this task. Although the method reveals statistically significant gender differences in interests for topics that are extensively discussed on Reddit, it cannot give definitive causes, and imitation and sharing within the site mean that additional checking is needed to verify the results. Nevertheless, with care, Reddit can serve as a useful source of insights into gender differences in interests.