How Ephemerality Features Affect User Engagement with Social Media Platforms

Christiane Lehrer, Ioanna Constantiou, Christian Matt, Thomas Hess

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


User engagement, a key factor in the success of social media platforms, has long been based on permanent content. A recent paradigm shift in platform design has led large social media providers to implement ephemerality features that by default make shared content disappear after a certain amount of time. However, very little is known about how ephemerality features affect user engagement and behavior in social media. Drawing upon the technology affordance perspective, we conducted a qualitative multi-method study involving individual interviews and focus groups. Our findings show that the affordances arising from features with varying degrees of ephemerality (i.e., snaps and stories) differ from those of permanent content features in terms of self-presentation, browsing others' content and communication. Adopting a multidimensional conceptualization of user engagement, we show the positive (e.g., more content sharing) and negative (e.g., cognitive burden from context loss) effects for snaps and stories that should be cautiously considered by SMP providers aiming to introduce such features. Finally, we reveal new user behaviors that relate to sharing snapshots of fleeting value as snaps or experiences of transient value as stories.
TidsskriftMIS Quarterly
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)1663-1678
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2023


  • Technology affordances
  • User engagement
  • Social media platforms
  • Ephemerality features