Cyber-mavens and online flow experiences: Evidence from virtual worlds

Andrew Pressey, Stuart J. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Social media and web-based environments provide important new channels for the dissemination of messages and
roles for central individuals in networks to provide conduits for marketplace information. The purpose of this
research is to test individuals' propensity to transfer market mavenism – a characteristic associated with a group
of highly knowledgeable consumers who are disseminators of generalized marketplace information – from physical
to virtual world environments and the features of these ‘cyber-mavens.’ We posit that cyber-mavens are more likely
to be immersed in flow experiences – the feeling of total immersion and deep involvement in human–computer
mediated interactions – and to trial new products in virtual worlds. We also test hypotheses regarding a number
of other demographic features and individual characteristics of likely mavens. The analysis is based on ANOVA,
with post-hoc tests for group comparison. Our findings indicate that while ‘real-life’ market mavenism remains
most dominant, mavens are able to extend this capacity into virtual worlds, suggesting the transferability of the
maven concept across major channels. We also find that cyber-mavens have a greater propensity to experience
‘flow’ in virtual worlds than non-mavens and are more likely to trial new products in order to satisfy hedonist
motives for personal interest in new products. Further, our findings indicate that cyber-mavens can be male or
female, are well-educated, and slightly older consumers, are keen users of virtual worlds and have knowledge of
other mavens. This study represents one of the first attempts to better understand how consumer behavior
might differ in virtual world channels, and, by so doing, better inform our understanding of an important group
of consumers for digital goods, namely cyber-mavens.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date26 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jul 2016

Keywords

  • Market mavens
  • Consumer innovativeness
  • Flow
  • Virtual worlds
  • Cyber-mavens

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