The rise of metric-based digital status: an empirical investigation into the role of status perceptions in envy on social networking sites

Meythaler, Antonia
Krause, Hannes-Vincent
Baumann, Annika
Krasnova, Hanna
Thatcher, Jason Bennett
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Widespread on social networking sites (SNSs), envy has been linked to an array of detrimental outcomes for users’ well-being. While envy has been considered a status-related emotion and is likely to be experienced in response to perceiving another’s higher status, there is a lack of research exploring how status perceptions influence the emergence of envy on SNSs. This is important because SNSs typically quantify social interactions and reach with metrics that indicate users’ relative rank and status in the network. To understand how status perceptions impact SNS users, we introduce a new form of metric-based digital status rooted in SNS metrics that are available and visible on a platform. Drawing on social comparison theory and status literature, we conducted an online experiment to investigate how different forms of status contribute to the proliferation of envy on SNSs. Our findings shed light on how metric-based digital status influences feelings of envy on SNSs. Specifically, we could show that metric-based digital status impacts envy through increasing perceptions of others’ socioeconomic and sociometric statuses. Our study contributes to the growing discourse on the negative out­ comes associated with SNS use and its consequences for users and society.

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Meythaler, A., Krause, H.-V., Baumann, A., Krasnova, H., & Thatcher, J. B. (2023). The rise of metric-based digital status: An empirical investigation into the role of status perceptions in envy on social networking sites. European Journal of Information Systems, 1–28.