Remedy or Cure: Investigating the Effect of Notification Controls on Social Media Usage
Posted: 19 Sep 2022
Date Written: August 31, 2022
Despite the prevalent use of notification controls to reduce social media usage, empirical research on their temporal and long-term effects is still insufficient. Drawing on the needs–affordances–features (NAF) framework for social media, we hypothesize that although notification controls appear to fulfill users’ need for controlled social media usage, they restrain users from achieving the need for connection. Through a field experiment, we found that the effects of notification controls are temporary remedies, and they cannot cure excessive social media usage in the long run. We also found that the remedying effect of notification controls on reducing social media usage varies among users with different levels of social media impulsivity. The study adds to the theoretical framework of NAF by presenting scenarios of users having conflicting needs and improves the understanding of social media dependence and social media feature design. The findings provide practical guidelines for managing excessive social media usage.
Keywords: Needs–affordances–features (NAF), Social media usage, Notification controls, Impulsivity
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