Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Browsing social media: Little evidence of robust positive or negative effects, suggesting instead that the primary effect is a lessening of arousal; people tend to wind down - feel more relaxed, sleepy, bored and so on - not wind up

People Tend to Wind Down, Not Up, When They Browse Social Media. Galen Panger. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction - CSCW archive, Volume 2 Issue CSCW, November 2018, Article No. 133, doi 10.1145/3274402

Abstract: Researchers have focused intensively on the emotional effects of browsing social media, with many emphasizing possible negative effects and others suggesting the positive emotions in status updates are contagious. Despite this focus, however, very few studies have investigated the actual emotional experience of browsing social media in the moment, and none with more than a few emotions, making it difficult to understand the effects research should endeavor to explain. To address this gap, I use experience sampling with diverse samples of Facebook (N = 362) and Twitter (N = 416) users, assessing the browsing experience across a wide range of emotions. Surprisingly, results provide little evidence of robust positive or negative effects, suggesting instead that the primary effect of browsing social media is a lessening of arousal. That is, contrary to stereotype, people tend to wind down - feel more relaxed, sleepy, bored and so on - not wind up.