Colloquium: Eric P.S. Baumer (Cornell): Good Friends and Bad Habits: Why it's (Not) Easy to Quit Social Media


What role does technology play in mediating human communication and social interaction? Moreover, what roles could it play, should it play, or should it not play? From designers, to sociologists, to policy makers, numerous perspectives on information technology require engaging with such questions. My research explores these questions, both by implementing novel technological systems and by empirically studying existing sociotechnical practices. This talk focuses on the non-use of social media, a phenomenon that foregrounds negotiations over where, when, and how technology should or should not be used. Specifically, I present a study of people who attempted to cease using Facebook but, in some cases, were unsuccessful. Using a mixed-methods approach, this study triangulates across multiple analyses to identify four major factors influencing the likelihood of successfully leaving Facebook: perceived addiction, privacy-related factors, changes in mood, and use of other social media. For example, respondents who perceived themselves as addicted to Facebook were more likely to return to the site. These results add important nuance to our understanding of how and why people use, or do not use, social technologies. More broadly, this work belongs to a larger effort to expand the ways that we conceptualize, study, and design for the relationships between information technology and human beings.


4:15am to 5:45am


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