How can social networks design trigger fear of missing out?

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Authors: Alutaybi, A., Arden-Close, E., McAlaney, J., Stefanidis, A., Phalp, K. and Ali, R.

Journal: SMC

Pages: 3758-3765

Publisher: IEEE

ISBN: 978-1-7281-4569-3

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Authors: Alutaybi, A., Arden-Close, E., McAlaney, J., Stefanidis, A., Phalp, K. and Ali, R.

Journal: Conference Proceedings - IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics

Volume: 2019-October

Pages: 3758-3765

ISBN: 9781728145693

ISSN: 1062-922X

DOI: 10.1109/SMC.2019.8914672

© 2019 IEEE. Social Network Sites (SNSs) are meant to facilitate interaction between people. The design of SNSs employs persuasive techniques with the aim of enhancing the user experience but also increasing interaction and user retention.Examples include the personalisation of content, temporarily available feeds, and notification and alert features. Socialness is now being embedded in new paradigms such as the Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems where devices can link people to each other and increase relatedness and group creation. One of the phenomena associated with such persuasion techniques is the experience of Fear of Missing Out (FoMO). FoMO typically refers to the preoccupation of SNS users with being deprived of interaction while offline. The salience, mood modification and conflict typically experienced as part of FoMO, are symptoms of digital addiction (DA). Despite recognition of the widespread experience of FoMO, existing research focuses on user psychology to interpret it. The contribution of SNS design in triggering FoMO remains largely unexplored. In this paper, we conduct a multi-stage qualitative research including interviews, a diary study and three focus group sessions to explore the relationship between SNS features and FoMO. Our findings demonstrate how the different SNS features act as persuasion triggers for certain kinds of FoMO. Also, we suggest features that could be introduced to social network sites to allow individuals to manage FoMO and identify the principles and challenges associated with engineering them.

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