As the use of social network sites (SNS) has become increasingly prevalent, its effect on sustainable performance has received much attention. The existing literature has taken either a positive or negative view of SNS, arguing that it either decreases performance by taking time and effort away from work, or increases performance by providing social benefits for enhancing performance. In contrast, this experimental study, investigates how SNS use can disturb or enhance the performance of different types of tasks differently, thus influencing the sustainability of task performance. Based on distraction-conflict theory, this study distinguishes between simple and complex tasks, examines the role of SNS, and analyzes data including electroencephalography data captured by a brain-computer interface. The results show that task performance can be sustainable such that SNS use positively influences performance when participants are engaged in a simple task and influences performance neither positively nor negatively when participants are engaged in a complex task. The study finds the former result is attributable to the positive effect of the psychological arousal induced by SNS use and the latter result to the negative effect of the psychological arousal offsetting the positive effect of reduced stress resulting from SNS use.
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