Drivers of online social media addiction in the context of public unrest: A sense of virtual community perspective

Mijail Naranjo-Zolotov, Ofir Turel, Tiago Oliveira, Jorge Edison Lascano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During periods of public unrest, people tend to increase their daily usage of social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp, to keep themselves abreast of developments and share their opinions. Over the last trimester of 2019, there were many demonstrations of public unrest in Latin-American countries, including Ecuador, Chile, and Bolivia. These events boosted the social media use. Individuals are exposed to information that is more sensitive and engaging than what is encountered in less agitated times. For instance, images of clashes between demonstrators and police, graphic violence, fake news, and accusations become more plentiful. The increased online interaction and the engaging nature of information during extended periods of public unrest may encourage the development of social media addiction. This study explores the sense of virtual community theory and uses self-assertion as moderator to capture the drivers of online social media addiction in the context of public unrest. Results reveal that immersion has a significant association with addiction, and self-assertion moderates the relationship between influence and membership.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106784
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume121
Early online date17 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Public unrest
  • Self-assertion
  • Sense of virtual community
  • Social media
  • Social media addiction

UN Sustainable Development Goals (Under maintenance)

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

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