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Estimating Usage Can Reduce the Stress of Social Networking
Yan Zhou, Jon Bird, Anna Cox, Duncan Brumby
Social networks are increasingly popular and provide benefits such as easy peer group communication. However, there is evidence that they can have negative consequences, such as increased stress levels. For two weeks, we provided participants with an objective measure of their social network usage and also asked them for a daily estimate of their usage over the previous 24 hours. Although their social network usage did not significantly change, participants’ perception of this activity was transformed, with a reduction in perceived stress, an increase in satisfaction and more generally an increase in their perception of control over time. We demonstrate the potential of combining both estimates and objective measures of activity usage in personal informatics systems: it can result in a transformation of attitudes towards the activity and a reduction in the stress associated with it.