Recent spikes in social networking site (SNS) usage times have launched investigations into reasons for excessive SNS usage. Extending research on social factors (i.e., fear of missing out), this study considers the News Feed setup. More specifically, we suggest that the order of the News Feed (chronological vs. algorithmically assembled posts) affects usage behaviors. Against the background of the variable reward schedule, this study hypothesizes that the different orders exert serendipity differently. Serendipity, termed as unexpected lucky encounters with information, resembles variable rewards. Studies have evidenced a relation between variable rewards and excessive behaviors. Similarly, we hypothesize that order-induced serendipitous encounters affect SNS usage times and explore this link in a two-wave survey with an experimental setup (users using either chronological or algorithmic News Feeds). While theoretically extending explanations for increased SNS usage times by considering the News Feed order, practically the study will offer recommendations for relevant stakeholders.
Gundlach, Jana; Baumann, Annika; and Krasnova, Hanna, "Coming Back for More: The Effect of News Feed Serendipity on Social Networking Site Usage" (2022). PACIS 2022 Proceedings. 271.
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