Eric P. S. Baumer, Rui Sun, and Peter Schaedler. (2018). Departing and Returning: Sense of Agency as an Organizing Concept for Understanding Social Media Non/use Transitions. Proceedings of the ACM: Human-Computer Interaction 1, CSCW: 23:1-23:19.
Recent work has identified a variety of motivations for various forms of technology use and non-use. However, less work has closely examined relationships between those motivations and the experiences of transiting among these different forms of use and non-use. This paper fills that gap by conducting a qualitative interview- and diary-based study where participants were asked to deactivate their Facebook account. An abductive analysis suggests participants’ experiences can be organized under the conceptual umbrella of sense of agency, which refers to an individual’s perception that their actions are under their own control. The analysis shows how, across disparate motivations, all participants took actions that increased their own subjective sense of agency, regardless of whether they returned to Facebook or not. The discussion applies this conceptual lens to prior studies of technology use and non-use. Doing so shows how sense of agency may provide an organizing orientation for understanding subjective experiences of use and non-use.