The New Consumer Online
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The New Consumer Online

A Sociology of Taste, Audience, and Publics

Edward F. McQuarrie

It’s a new world online, where consumers can publish their writing and gain a public presence, even a mass audience. This book links together blogging, writing reviews for Yelp, and creating pinboards for Pinterest, all of which provide ordinary people the opportunity to display their tastes to strangers. Edward McQuarrie expertly analyzes how the operation of taste in consumption has been changed by the Internet and offers a fresh perspective on why websites like Yelp and Pinterest have become so successful.
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Chapter 4: Appendix A: Effects of feedback

Edward F. McQuarrie


In fall of 2011 we collected the most recent 160 reviews from eight San Jose restaurants in diverse categories (steakhouses, sushi, French, barbecue), selecting in each two restaurants from among those with the highest volume of reviews. These restaurants had accumulated between 300 and 1600 reviews apiece. Collecting their 160 most recent got us reviews produced in the past six months to two years, depending on restaurant. All sampled reviewers had been active within that period. A research assistant tabulated reviewer data by consulting reviewer profiles. Only the reviewers who could also be located a year later, during the follow-up, are reported here. We obtained reviewers’ total count of useful votes, funny votes, and cool votes from their profile pages. As these proved to be correlated at 0.98 or greater, these three were summed to create a count of total feedback received. Next, the review count, as displayed opposite each review, was tabulated. Because these variables had a strong positive skew, for statistical analyses, the natural log of each was used (first adding 1 to feedback counts, since these can take values of zero). One year later, we collected these variables again, using a script.

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