Time flies when chatting online : a social structure and social learning model to understand excessive use of mobile instant messaging

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2167-2192
Journal / PublicationInformation Technology and People
Issue number7
Online published1 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022


Purpose - Widespread concerns about excessive use of mobile instant messaging (MIM) have inspired research in different disciplines. However, the focus thus far tends to be on diagnostics and cognitive predictors. There is little understanding from the socio-technical perspective to capture the drivers of excessive use of MIM. To address this research gap, the authors aim to enrich existing literature by adopting a social structure and social learning model (SSSLM) to understand the excessive use of MIM. The authors argue that excessive MIM use is developed and reinforced in highly interactive online communication, through a social learning process.

- The authors conduct a cross-sectional online survey to validate our proposed research model on excessive use of mobile instant messaging (MIM). 368 valid responses are obtained from active MIM users in China.

- The results suggest that highly interactive MIM creates a technology-based social structure that facilitates the social learning process of excessive technology use. The influence of perceived interactivity of MIM on excessive MIM use is mediated by a series of contextualized social learning factors. Furthermore, the influences of perceived interactivity on social learning factors are moderated by MIM use experience.

 - The authors contribute to literature in related fields by highlighting the crucial role of social learning in facilitating excessive technology use. The authors contribute to the social structure and social learning model by contextualizing it into the context of excessive MIM use. Design guidelines are provided with a purpose to inhibit excessive use of MIM.

Research Area(s)

  • Instant messaging, Internet addiction, Mobile communication, Social networking, Socio-technical theory

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