Attraction of Knowledge Celebrities
The Emergence of Knowledge Celebrities on Digital Platforms
An emerging class of online celebrities—knowledge celebrities—who sell self-created knowledge products on online platforms has become prevalent in recent years. As with conventional online celebrities globally and locally, knowledge celebrities make themselves appealing to a sizable following and further capitalize on such an advantage to earn money. Initially, they attracted users by creating knowledge-intensive content for free online. Like traditional celebrities, knowledge celebrities may cultivate users to become their fans through ongoing high-quality outputs. Fans are known to go the extra mile to express their adoration for their favorite idols including offering monetary incentives. Against this backdrop, a novel business model—pay-for-knowledge—has emerged. As the demand for high-quality content grew, several online platforms have evolved into pay-for-knowledge outfits where payment functions are incorporated to enable these “knowledge celebrities” to monetize their efforts. The platforms, in turn, share the revenue generated from users’ payments with the knowledge celebrities.
Motivation for This Book
The attraction of knowledge celebrities has become a significant premise of running the pay-for-knowledge model. After all, if they did not draw users in the first place, they would not leverage such attractiveness to further affect their willingness to pay. Sellers’ attractiveness in online transactional relationships has not received much in-depth discussion while being repeatedly mentioned. This is because understanding the concept could be a basis for related customer relation management and resource allocations on digital platforms. Unfortunately, the current understanding of how and to what extent the attraction of knowledge celebrities affects users’ willingness to pay is limited.
Understanding the attraction of knowledge celebrities is important for two reasons. First, from an academic perspective, juxtaposing the attraction of knowledge celebrities and users’ willingness to pay, this book may provide a fresh reference point for discussing the role of knowledge celebrities—a peculiar group of online celebrities in China—in users’ willingness to pay for knowledge products. For example, the book will suggest that the concept of “attachment to knowledge celebrities” helps to understand why they are able to draw users to pay for knowledge products. Second, the book may inform related digital business practitioners such as pay-for-knowledge platform providers. They can benefit from extracting the value of knowledge celebrities by explicitly presenting their attraction to users who are likely to become potential consumers of the knowledge products.
—a novel business model—pay-for-knowledge—has emerged—
The book’s title, Attraction of Knowledge Celebrities and the book content originated from these reflections above. Presenting the most insightful and related scholarly literature and relevant practices and cases with the highest level of clarity is my goal with this book. When looking through the book, readers may find answers to three questions of knowledge celebrities, namely, who they are, why they can draw users, and why users are willing to pay for their knowledge products. I hope readers will benefit from the findings and implications of the book.
What This Book Presents You
This book attempts to deepen our understanding of knowledge celebrities by investigating why and how they are able to attract users to pay for knowledge products. Specifically, the book intends to explore what antecedents are important to the attraction of knowledge celebrities and then investigate the effects of the attraction of and attachment to knowledge celebrities on users’ willingness to pay. To address these issues, in addition to my own research and projects on knowledge celebrities, I reviewed the existing literature related to knowledge celebrities across different disciplines such as information science, communication, advertising and marketing. I then linked those findings to the best pay-for-knowledge practices in the context of knowledge celebrities, generating fundamental life changes. I was struck by the changes made by knowledge celebrities and started to believe in their capabilities and the potential power to improve, cultivate, and change the landscape of knowledge consumption gradually but steadily. I then realized that no such book like this discusses the attraction of knowledge celebrities and users’ willingness to pay to understand how this emerging class of online celebrities moves the current pay-for-knowledge practices forward.
This book is significant in three ways. First, it extends the current research on online celebrities by investigating an emerging class—knowledge celebrities. In terms of who they are, the book combines the online identities they presented on a pay-for-knowledge platform with their attributes of knowledge products. This is different from past research that examines the characteristics of online celebrities based on either online identities or content contributions. Furthermore, the book also studies how knowledge celebrities shape users’ perceptions within online social interactions. This is also one of the first books to conceptualize online celebrities’ attraction based on their characteristics and social interactions with target audiences.
Second, the book deepens the understanding of users’ willingness to pay in an online context. Specifically, the book integrates two strands of research: (1) the role of online celebrities in users’ willingness to pay and (2) the effect of users’ attachment to the product or service on their willingness to pay. Past research on the first strand suggests that online celebrities may affect users’ willingness to pay through their perceived attractiveness. The second strand posits that users’ attachment to a product or service drives their prosocial behavioral intentions, including the willingness to pay. By bridging the two strands of research, the book contributes to the extant literature by shedding light on the roles of perceived attractiveness of knowledge celebrities and users’ attachment to knowledge celebrities in users’ willingness to pay for knowledge products.
Last but not least, the book broadens the boundary of social informatics literature. Extant social informatics literature holds the assumption that knowledge is shared and used without payment. However, the particular knowledge practice in the book—that knowledge celebrities sell self-created knowledge products to users on digital platforms—has not received much scholarly attention. Hence, the book relaxes the assumption of previous research that knowledge practices enabled by digital technologies are free to be accessed by everyone and considers the situation where knowledge practices among individuals may be akin to trade between sellers and buyers. The book thus enriches the social informatics literature by empirically investigating an underexplored practice between knowledge celebrities and users within a socio-technical environment.
Reference: Chen, X. (2023). Attraction of Knowledge Celebrities: How They Motivate Users to Pay for Knowledge. Routledge. London and New York. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781032669779
Cite this article in APA as: Chen, X. Attraction of knowledge celebrities. (2023, December 11). Information Matters, Vol. 3, Issue 12. https://informationmatters.org/2023/12/attraction-of-knowledge-celebrities/