How social influence and personality affect users’ social network fatigue and discontinuance behavior

Publication Date16 July 2018
Date16 July 2018
AuthorSajad Shokouyar,Seyed Hossein Siadat,Mojde Khazeni Razavi
SubjectLibrary & information science,Information behaviour & retrieval,Information & knowledge management,Information management & governance,Information management
How social influence and
personality affect userssocial
network fatigue and
discontinuance behavior
Sajad Shokouhyar, Seyed Hossein Siadat and Mojde Khazeni Razavi
Department of Information Management,
Management and Accounting Faculty,
Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to focus on understanding how social influence and personality of
individuals differentiate between userssocial network fatigue and discontinuance behavior. Furthermore, the
most common discontinuance behavior among users was investigated.
Design/methodology/approach The research model was tested with the data from 163 Instagram users
based on online and offline surveys. The partial least squares method was used to test the proposed
hypotheses of this study.
Findings The resultsindicate that social influenceaffects usersdiscontinuancebehavior and social network
fatigue.Social network fatigue isgreater in users with higher reportedsocial influence comparedto those with a
lower one. Moreover, in response to social network fatigue, users prefer to keep their activities under control
instead of switchingto alternative social network sites(SNSs) or a short break in social networkactivities.
Practical implications By achieving a better understanding of usersfeeling and behaviors, social
network providers may codify their strategies more efficiently.
Originality/value The study is novel in exploring usersSNS fatigue and their discontinuance behavior by
integrating social influence and personality. The authors defined a new concept of effect of social influence on
social network fatigue. Additionally, the authors examined which discontinuance behaviors in individuals
were more prevalent.
Keywords Personality, Social influence, SNS fatigue, Overload, Discontinuance behaviour, Users feeling
Paper type Research paper
The values and services provided by social network sites (SNSs) in recent years have led to
profound changes in interpersonal relationship patterns and the way people communicate
with the world (Yang and Lin, 2014; Injadat et al., 2016). Meanwhile, photo or video
sharing sites, such as Instagram, were found to engage users more compared with other
SNSs (Anderson, 2016). Instagram has more than 800m users per month worldwide
(Statista, 2018a). Furthermore, between January and September 2017, the number of daily
active users increased from 150 to 500m (Statista, 2018b). Instagram possesses unique
features that attract many users because they enable them to easily share their lifetime
moments in real time and access their favorite information (Kim et al., 2017). SNSs, such as
Instagram, have become a ubiquitous part of peoples lives (Chua and Chua 2017); for many,
it is very difficult to imagine how they lived without them (Amichai-Hamburger and
Vinitzky, 2010). However, SNS overuse will cause users to be overwhelmed with too much
information, too many friends and followers, and too much time spent online to maintain
these connections (Bright et al., 2015). This will induce overload. Consequently, users
are unable to control the situation and this would cause a negative effect on them
(Song et al., 2017). Although some researchers suggest that the widespread use of SNS leads
to social media addiction (Cheng and Li, 2014), on the other hand, some studies point to
social network fatigue (Ravindran et al., 2014; Bright et al., 2015; Zhang et al., 2016).
Aslib Journal of Information
Vol. 70 No. 4, 2018
pp. 344-366
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/AJIM-11-2017-0263
Received 26 November 2017
Revised 19 February 2018
16 May 2018
Accepted 18 June 2018
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Social network fatigue is the consequence of stress that is caused by users overuse of SNS
(Choi and Lim, 2016; Lee et al., 2016). Zhang et al. (2016) defined it as negative emotional
reactions to social network activities, such as tiredness, boredom, burnout, indifference and
lower interest. People try to avoid stressful situations by changing their behavior, so these
users should have a high motivation to discontinue using the SNS (Maier et al., 2015).
The relationship between antecedents, SNS fatigue and discontinuance behavior has been
investigated in past research. The main purpose of the present study is to compare the
relationship between these factors in different groups. Therefore, we study other factors
affecting this framework. Factors affecting social network fatigue context have been studied
from several standpoints. As stated in Cramer et al.s (2016) research, the differences
among individuals such as the level of their self-esteem also affected the social network
fatigue. Likewise, according to Landers and Lounsbury (2006), Ross et al. (2009) and
Amichai-Hamburger and Vinitzky (2010), personality was considered as an effective
psychological and internal factor in the use of the internet and social media. Additionally,
studies of De Vries and Van Heck (2002) indicate that personality affects fatigue in its
general concept and Maier et al. (2015) mentioned the role of personality on users
discontinuance behavior in their study. Moreover, in the context of SNS use, studies
revealed some external factors such as social influence (Zhou and Li, 2014; Ifinedo, 2016)
from a social perspective. Social influence consists of the three different processes of
compliance, identification and internalization. In the process of compliance, a member
of social networks may be affected by others in a way that he/she turns to a specific
social network against his/her interest simply because of a friends opinions and
expectations (Lu, 2014). In the process of internalization, other peoples beliefs and
opinions are internalized in the individual (Zhou and Li, 2014). Through the compliance
process where others beliefs have not yet been internalized in the individual and the
action is taken only to satisfy others it will cause pressure and consequently tension
in the user (Shen et al., 2007; Zhang et al., 2016). Although in previous research social
influence was found to have an impact on the continued usage of SNSs, the impact of
social influence as an external factor may change over time and this may aggravate SNS
fatigue and discontinuance behavior.
The relationship between the antecedents, SNS fatigue and discontinuance behavior,
has been studied before. However, differentiating between users has never been
considered as an influential parameter. As stated above, personality and social influence
may affect the usersSNS fatigue and discontinuance behaviors. Therefore, it is probable
that the model suggested here will present different results among different users.
Hence, the present study investigates how different individuals with different levels of
social influence experience fatigue and respond to it. Users are classified into four
groups based on the intensity of the social influence they feel and their personality, and
the research model is first tested among general data and then in each of the groups.
Finally, the results of the groups are compared with each other in order to further
understand the phenomena of usersSNS fatigue and their discontinuance behavior.
A better conceiving of SNS fatigue and discontinuance behavior is important.
The understanding of SNS overuse impact on users and its consequences can be
helpful for social network providers. It is clear that a social networks survival is
dependent on its active users (Han, 2016).
Moreover, the effect of social network fatigue on usersbehavior has been
examined in previous studies. However, individualsbehaviors have not been examined
separately. Therefore, it is not clear which discontinuance behaviors users are more
inclined to. In fact, we have studied individualsreactions to SNS fatigu e in general
and have furthermore tried to investigate it in each group, considering social influence
and personality.
Affects of
social influence
and personality
on social media

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