Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Social media users need help to adjust to interface changes

Date:
April 30, 2014
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Social media companies that give users a greater sense of control can ease them into interface changes, as well as curb defections to competitors, according to researchers. "Several studies have looked into how social media companies have failed," said one scholar. "What we need to think about is how social media companies can be more adaptive and how they can improve the longevity of their sites."

Social media companies that give users a greater sense of control can ease them into interface changes, as well as curb defections to competitors, according to researchers.

"Several studies have looked into how social media companies have failed," said Pamela Wisniewski, a post-doctoral scholar in information sciences and technology, Penn State. "What we need to think about is how social media companies can be more adaptive and how they can improve the longevity of their sites."

In a study of the reaction to the introduction of Facebook's Timeline interface between 2011 and 2012, researchers found that users considered the mandatory transition to the new interface highly stressful. They also found evidence that suggests that giving users a voice can give them a sense of control to better adapt to new online environments.

Facebook's Timeline interface allowed users to access posts by date, highlighted certain events and set privacy controls to remove, modify visibility or hide posts on their page. The company initially provided a blog to release information to users, but then closed the blog, said Wisniewski, who worked with Heng Xu, associate professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State, and Yunan

Chen, assistant professor of informatics, University of California, Irvine. Denying users the ability to use the blog as a place to voice their concerns and give feedback may have thwarted one of the positive strategies people use to cope with changes in their environment, the researchers said. People who feel more in control become focused on solving problems and adjusting to the change, while those who do not feel they have control tend to focus on their emotions and resort to more negative coping strategies.

The researchers, who presented their findings at the Association for Computing Machinery's Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, said that 67 percent of users' coping strategies in the Timeline transition were negative. The users complained, threatened to switch to another social network and urged others to drop Facebook.

"Without giving people a way of offering feedback, you make them feel less empowered and they have more of a feeling of hopelessness," said Wisniewski.

Some users did adapt more successfully and took positive steps to use the new interface, including learning about Timeline and finding new ways to customize it.

Companies that halt communication run the risk of allowing false information to circulate among users.

"Without providing more users feedback, not only was there more negativity, but a lot of the information that was causing the negativity was actually based on misinformation," said Wisniewski. "Being more responsive and sharing information with users can stop some of this misinformation."

The researchers also said that changing too many features at once can confuse users and may lead to a harsher backlash.

"In the Timeline rollout, they added several other features at the same time as Timeline," said Wisniewski. "These weren't necessarily part of Timeline, but were thrown in at the same time."

The researchers examined users' perceptions and signs of coping strategies by reviewing 1,149 comments posted to Facebook's Timeline release blog from September 2011 to April 2012. Facebook first made the transition to the new interface on Dec. 15, 2011, as an opt-in feature. The interface became mandatory for Facebook users on May 21, 2012.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. The original article was written by Matt Swayne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Social media users need help to adjust to interface changes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430133151.htm>.
Penn State. (2014, April 30). Social media users need help to adjust to interface changes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430133151.htm
Penn State. "Social media users need help to adjust to interface changes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430133151.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) Halle Berry was recently ordered to pay her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 a month in child support by a California judge for their daughter Nahla. As women make strides in the workforce, they are increasingly left holding the bag when relationships end regardless of marital status. 'What Monied Women Need to Know Before Getting Married or Cohabitating' discusses information such as debt incurred during the marriage is both spouse's responsibility at divorce, whether after ten years of marriage spouses are entitled to half of everything and why property acquired within the marriage is fair game without a pre-nup. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Reuters - US Online Video (July 18, 2014) The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins