[Air-L] Looking for research on the negative well-being effects of News Feed browsing

Galen Panger gpanger at gmail.com
Sun May 18 20:07:07 PDT 2014

Wanted to say a belated thanks to the list for the paper suggestions I got
in response to my query, and also send back some of the papers I found
interesting/provocative. In no particular order:

- Limiting, Leaving, and (re)Lapsing: An Exploration of Facebook Non-Use
Practices and Experiences
- Giving up Twitter for Lent: How and Why We Take Breaks from Social Media
- Addictive Facebook Use Among University Students
- A longitudinal study of the association between Compulsive Internet use
and wellbeing
- Habits make smartphone use more pervasive
- Facebook’s emotional consequences: Why Facebook causes a decrease in mood
and why people still use it
- Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out
- Awkward Encounters of an “Other” Kind: Collective Self-Presentation and
Face Threat on Facebook

Couple quick takeaways: Even if people don't find time spent on social
media worthwhile, or even if they often feel worse after using it, they may
still struggle to limit their use of it (1) because it's a tough habit to
break and (2) they may make affective forecasting errors (i.e. they
continue to be optimistic that going on Facebook will make them feel better
when it doesn't).

Two other papers probably worth knowing about:
- Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction?
- Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults

Lastly, I received an inquiry about what Burke's work has shown re: the
negative well-being consequences of News Feed browsing and wanted to share
some of that more broadly in case others weren't familiar (it's a bit
difficult to piece together). Burke's work is unique partly because she
uses back-end usage data rather than self-reported usage and because she
distinguishes between types of FB usage in her analysis (e.g. talking to
others versus browsing the News Feed). Also, she doesn't rely on samples of
college students.

Findings from her longitudinal work show that higher levels of News Feed
browsing/passive consumption over time are associated with lower bridging
social capital, lower perceived social support and marginally lower
positive affect and higher depression (though the latter two employ smaller
sample sizes). Cross-sectionally, she's found higher loneliness, lower
bridging social capital and marginally lower bonding social capital.

The relevant works from Burke:
- Using Facebook after Losing a Job: Differential Benefits of Strong and
Weak Ties
- Social Network Activity and Social Well-Being
- Reading, Writing, Relationships: The Impact of Social Network Sites on
Relationships and Well-Being

Please keep me in mind if you come across other interesting work along
these lines.


On Thu, May 1, 2014 at 5:47 PM, Galen Panger <gpanger at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi everyone (this is my first post to air-l!), I've been doing a bit of
> work looking into the finding by a few researchers including Burke et al.
> that News Feed browsing (and other forms of passive consumption in social
> networks) leads to lower well-being outcomes.
> Am trying to expand my horizons on the work that's been done exploring the
> possible causes of this effect; in interviews with Facebook users, for
> example, I've heard people talk about feeling like time on FB is wasted, or
> like they're seeing another (unattractive, irritating) side of their
> friends. Then, more academically, are suggestions that social comparison
> (everyone's cheery and accomplished and I compare unfavorably with that) or
> social transparency (I can see when my friends are hanging out without me)
> might also play a role.
> Google Scholar searches and the like haven't turned up much for me, but
> maybe (probably) I'm missing something—does anyone have work in this area
> that they can point me to, or suggestions of good work by others? I'd
> greatly appreciate some help expanding my understanding of the literature
> in this area.
> Thanks and best regards,
> Galen
> --
> galen at ischool.berkeley.edu

galen at ischool.berkeley.edu

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