An empirical study of notifications’ importance for online social network users

  • Sarah Bouraga
  • Ivan Jureta
  • Stéphane Faulkner
Original Article


Over the last decade, online social networks (OSNs) have been growing quickly to become some of the largest systems in use. Their users are sharing more and more content, and in turn have access to vast amounts of information from and about each other. This increases the risk of information overload for every user. We define a set of event types, which can generate notifications to users on an OSN. We survey one set of users to obtain their evaluation of the relative importance of event types. We survey another set of users, to identify the factors, which influence the perception of the relative importance of event types. Both results are relevant for the design of algorithms for the recommendation of content to OSN users.


Event Type Close Friend Online Social Network Normative Belief Control Belief 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ahn Y-Y, Han S, Kwak H, Moon S, Jeong H (2007) Analysis of topological characteristics of huge online social networking services. In: Proceedings of the 16th international conference on world wide web, pp 835–844Google Scholar
  2. Aiello LM, Barrat A, Cattuto C, Ruffo G, Schifanella R (2010) Link creation and profile alignment in the anobii social network. In: 2010 IEEE second international conference on Social computing (socialcom), pp 249–256Google Scholar
  3. Ajzen I (1991) The theory of planned behavior. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 50(2):179–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ajzen I, Fishbein M (1977) Attitude-behavior relations: A theoretical analysis and review of empirical research. Psychol Bull 84(5):888CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anthony D, Henderson T, Kotz D (2007) Privacy in location-aware computing environments. IEEE Pervasive Comput 6(4):64–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Banks LD, Wu SF (2010) Toward a behavioral approach to privacy for online social networks. In: Social informatics, pp 19–34. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  7. Benevenuto F, Rodrigues T, Cha M, Almeida V (2009). Characterizing user behavior in online social networks. In: Proceedings of the 9th ACM Sigcomm conference on internet measurement conference, pp 49–62Google Scholar
  8. Bhattacherjee A (2001) Understanding information systems continuance: an expectation-confirmation model. MIS Q 25(3):351–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bouraga S, Jureta I, Faulkner S (2014) Requirements engineering patterns for the modeling of online social networks features. In: 2014 IEEE 4th international workshop on requirements patterns (repa), pp 33–38Google Scholar
  10. Cheung CM, Chiu P-Y, Lee MK (2011) Online social networks: why do students use facebook? Comput Hum Behav 27(4):1337–1343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Consolvo S, Smith IE, Matthews T, LaMarca A, Tabert J, Powledge P (2005) Location disclosure to social relations: why, when, & what people want to share. In: Proceedings of the sigchi conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 81–90Google Scholar
  12. Costa P Jr, Terracciano A, McCrae RR (2001) Gender differences in personality traits across cultures: robust and surprising findings. J Pers Soc Psychol 81(2):322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davis FD (1989) Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Q 13:319–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Delone WH (2003) The Delone and Mclean model of information systems success: a ten-year update. J Manag Inf Syst 19(4):9–30Google Scholar
  15. DiMicco J, Millen DR, Geyer W, Dugan C, Brownholtz B, Muller M (2008) Motivations for social networking at work. In: Proceedings of the 2008 ACM conference on computer supported cooperative work, pp 711–720Google Scholar
  16. Dwyer C, Hiltz SR, Passerini K (2007) Trust and privacy concern within social networking sites: a comparison of facebook and myspace. In: Amcis, pp 339Google Scholar
  17. Ellison NB et al (2007) Social network sites: definition, history, and scholarship. J Comput Mediat Commun 13(1):210–230MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Emanuel L, Bevan C, Hodges D (2013) What does your profile really say about you? privacy warning systems and self-disclosure in online social network spaces. In: Chi’13 extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems, pp 799–804Google Scholar
  19. Fuligni AJ, Tseng V, Lam M (1999) Attitudes toward family obligations among american adolescents with asian, Latin American, and European backgrounds. Child Dev 70(4):1030–1044CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gangadharbatla H (2008) Facebook me: collective self-esteem, need to belong, and internet self-efficacy as predictors of the igenerations attitudes toward social networking sites. J Interact Advertis 8(2):5–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gefen D, Straub DW (2000) The relative importance of perceived ease of use in is adoption: a study of e-commerce adoption. J AIS 1:8Google Scholar
  22. Golbeck J (2009) Trust and nuanced profile similarity in online social networks. ACM Trans Web (TWEB) 3(4):12Google Scholar
  23. Goldberg LR (1993) The structure of phenotypic personality traits. Am Psychol 48(1):26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Guha S, Tang K, Francis P (2008). Noyb: privacy in online social networks. In: Proceedings of the first workshop on online social networks, pp 49–54Google Scholar
  25. Guo L, Tan E, Chen S, Zhang X, Zhao YE (2009) Analyzing patterns of user content generation in online social networks. In Proceedings of the 15th ACM SIGKDD international conference on knowledge discovery and data mining, pp 369–378Google Scholar
  26. Heer J, Boyd D (2005) Vizster: Visualizing online social networks. In: IEEE symposium on information visualization, 2005. INFOVIS 2005, pp 32–39Google Scholar
  27. Hsu C-L, Lin JC-C (2008) Acceptance of blog usage: the roles of technology acceptance, social influence and knowledge sharing motivation. Inf Manag 45(1): 65–74Google Scholar
  28. Hsu C-L, Lu H-P (2004) Why do people play on-line games? An extended tam with social influences and flow experience. Inf Manag 41(7):853–868CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Judge TA, Higgins CA, Thoresen CJ, Barrick MR (1999) The big five personality traits, general mental ability, and career success across the life span. Pers Psychol 52(3):621–652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Krasnova H, Spiekermann S, Koroleva K, Hildebrand T (2010) Online social networks: why we disclose. J Inf Technol 25(2):109–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kumar R, Novak J, Tomkins A (2010) Structure and evolution of online social networks. In: Link mining: models, algorithms, and applications, pp 337–357. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  32. Kuss DJ, Griffiths MD (2011) Online social networking and addiction: a review of the psychological literature. Int J Environ Res Public Health 8(9):3528–3552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kwak H, Lee C, Park H, Moon S (2010) What is twitter, a social network or a news media? In: Proceedings of the 19th international conference on world wide web, pp 591–600Google Scholar
  34. Lampe CA, Ellison N, Steinfield C (2007) A familiar face (book): profile elements as signals in an online social network. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 435–444Google Scholar
  35. Li EY (1997) Perceived importance of information system success factors: a meta analysis of group differences. Inf Manag 32(1):15–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lin K-Y, Lu H-P (2011) Why people use social networking sites: an empirical study integrating network externalities and motivation theory. Comput Hum Behav 27(3):1152–1161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lindqvist J, Cranshaw J, Wiese J, Hong J, Zimmerman J (2011) I’m the mayor of my house: examining why people use foursquare-a social-driven location sharing application. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 2409–2418Google Scholar
  38. Madejski M, Johnson ML, Bellovin SM (2011) The failure of online social network privacy settingsGoogle Scholar
  39. Mashhadi A, Mathur A, Kawsar F (2014) The myth of subtle notifications. In: Proceedings of the 2014 ACM international joint conference on pervasive and ubiquitous computing: adjunct publication, ACM (2014), pp 111–114Google Scholar
  40. Mislove A, Marcon M, Gummadi KP, Druschel P, Bhattacharjee B (2007) Measurement and analysis of online social networks. In: Proceedings of the 7th ACM SIGCOMM conference on internet measurement, pp 29–42Google Scholar
  41. Mislove A, Viswanath B, Gummadi KP, Druschel P (2010) You are who you know: inferring user profiles in online social networks. In: Proceedings of the third ACM international conference on web search and data mining, pp 251–260Google Scholar
  42. Nadkarni A, Hofmann SG (2012) Why do people use facebook? Personal Individ Differ 52(3):243–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nosko A, Wood E, Molema S (2010) All about me: disclosure in online social networking profiles: the case of facebook. Comput Hum Behav 26(3):406–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Olson JS, Grudin J, Horvitz E (2005) A study of preferences for sharing and privacy. In: Chi’05 extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems, pp 1985–1988Google Scholar
  45. Pempek TA, Yermolayeva YA, Calvert SL (2009) College students’ social networking experiences on facebook. J Appl Dev Psychol 30(3):227–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pielot M, Church K, de Oliveira R (2014) An in situ study of mobile phone notifications. In: Proceedings of the 16th international conference on human-computer interaction with mobile devices & services. ACM, pp 233–242Google Scholar
  47. Rezaee S, Lavesson N, Johnson H (2012) E-mail prioritization using online social network profile distance. IJCSA 9(1):70–87Google Scholar
  48. Sahami Shirazi A, Henze N, Dingler T, Pielot M, Weber D, Schmidt A (2014) Large-scale assessment of mobile notifications. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems. ACM, pp 3055–3064Google Scholar
  49. Schneider F, Feldmann A, Krishnamurthy B, Willinger W (2009) Understanding online social network usage from a network perspective. In: Proceedings of the 9th ACM SIGCOMM conference on internet measurement conference, pp 35–48Google Scholar
  50. Silfverberg S, Liikkanen LA, Lampinen A (2011) I’ll press play, but i won’t listen: profile work in a music-focused social network service. In: Proceedings of the ACM 2011 conference on computer supported cooperative work, pp 207–216Google Scholar
  51. Singh RR, Tomar DS (2009) Approaches for user profile investigation in orkut social network. arXiv preprint arXiv:0912.1008
  52. Strater K, Lipford HR (2008) Strategies and struggles with privacy in an online social networking community. In Proceedings of the 22nd British HCI group annual conference on people and computers: culture, creativity, interaction-volume 1, pp 111–119Google Scholar
  53. Strufe T (2010) Profile popularity in a business-oriented online social network. In: Proceedings of the 3rd workshop on social network systems, pp 2Google Scholar
  54. Sun P-C, Tsai RJ, Finger G, Chen Y-Y, Yeh D (2008) What drives a successful e-learning? An empirical investigation of the critical factors influencing learner satisfaction. Comput Educ 50(4):1183–1202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tan M, Teo TS (2000) Factors influencing the adoption of internet banking. J AIS 1(1es):5Google Scholar
  56. Utz S (2010) Show me your friends and i will tell you what type of person you are: how one’s profile, number of friends, and type of friends influence impression formation on social network sites. J Comput Mediat Commun 15(2):314–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Utz S, Beukeboom CJ (2011) The role of social network sites in romantic relationships: effects on jealousy and relationship happiness. J Comput Mediat Commun 16(4):511–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Venkatesh V, Morris MG (2000) Why don’t men ever stop to ask for directions? Gender, social influence, and their role in technology acceptance and usage behavior. MIS Q 24:115–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wicker AW (1969) Attitudes versus actions: The relationship of verbal and overt behavioral responses to attitude objects. J Soc Issues 25(4):41–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Xiao L, Dasgupta S (2002) Measurement of user satisfaction with web-based information systems: an empirical study. In: Eighth Americas conference on information systems, pp 1149–1155Google Scholar
  61. Zhong B, Hardin M, Sun T (2011) Less effortful thinking leads to more social networking? The associations between the use of social network sites and personality traits. Comput Hum Behav 27(3):1265–1271CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Bouraga
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ivan Jureta
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Stéphane Faulkner
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationUniversity of NamurNamurBelgium
  2. 2.PReCISE Research CenterUniversity of NamurNamurBelgium
  3. 3.Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique – FNRSBrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations