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.

Related Articles


"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 November 27, 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 November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Privacy regulators recommend Google expand its requested removals to apply to all its web domains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) T-Mobile and the FCC have reached an agreement requiring the company to alert customers when it throttles their data speeds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

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