Although popular users are relatively more influential on social media, there may exist a popularity fallacy in terms of their civic participation. We quantify the popularity, influence, and participation of 233 most influential verified users (big Vs) of Sina Weibo in 63 most salient public issues (2013-2016). We find that the popularity of big Vs has a negative influence on their participation in public issues. We explain this finding in the perspective of social identity and impression management. The results of this study shed light on our understanding of the most popular users on social media.
Yan X.F., Wang C.J. * (2021) With Greater Popularity Comes Less Responsibility? The Popularity Fallacy of Big Vs' Public Participation on Sina Weibo. Chinese Journal of Communication. Accepted.