How demanding is social media: Understanding social media diets as a function of perceived costs and benefits - A rational actor perspective

Nicholas David Bowman, David Keith Westerman, Christopher James Claus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using the rational actor perspective as a guiding frame, this exploratory study examined individuals' social media diet (i.e.; amount, frequency, and duration of use) as a function of task load and expected goal attainment. Surveys were distributed (N = 337) focusing on Twitter and Facebook usage for informational and relational purposes, respectfully. Increased task load - conceptualized as a cognitive cost - directly negatively influenced Twitter use but only indirectly influenced Facebook use as a function of perceived benefits. Across conditions, perceived self-efficacy was negatively associated with perceived task load and positively associated with goal attainment, and goal attainment was a significant correlate of increased social media usage. Interpreted, we see that a transparent technology such as Facebook has no cognitive costs associated with its use, while an opaque technology such as Twitter seems to have a salient cognitive cost element. Further, we found that older users of Facebook were more likely to judge the channel as more cognitively demanding and themselves as having lower self-efficacy in using it. Finally, results indicated that for both Facebook and Twitter, males perceived both channels as more cognitively demanding than females. Theoretical and practical explanations and applications for these findings are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2298-2305
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Cognitive demand
  • Facebook
  • Rational actor perspective
  • Social media
  • Social media diet
  • Twitter

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'How demanding is social media: Understanding social media diets as a function of perceived costs and benefits - A rational actor perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this