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Information Overload and the Message Dynamics of Online Interaction Spaces: A Theoretical Model and Empirical Exploration


  • Quentin Jones

    () (Department of Information Systems, College of Computing Sciences, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University Heights, Newark, New Jersey 07102)

  • Gilad Ravid

    () (Center for the Study of the Information Society, Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel)

  • Sheizaf Rafaeli

    () (Center for the Study of the Information Society, Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel)


Online spaces that enable shared public interpersonal communications are of significant social, organizational, and economic importance. In this paper, a theoretical model and associated unobtrusive method are proposed for researching the relationship between online spaces and the behavior they host. The model focuses on the collective impact that individual information-overload coping strategies have on the dynamics of open, interactive public online group discourse. Empirical research was undertaken to assess the validity of both the method and the model, based on the analysis of over 2.65 million postings to 600 Usenet newsgroups over a 6-month period. Our findings support the assertion that individual strategies for coping with “information overload” have an observable impact on large-scale online group discourse. Evidence was found for the hypotheses that: (1) users are more likely to respond to simpler messages in overloaded mass interaction; (2) users are more likely to end active participation as the overloading of mass interaction increases; and (3) users are more likely to generate simpler responses as the overloading of mass interaction grows.The theoretical model outlined offers insight into aspects of computer-mediated communication tool usability, technology design, and provides a road map for future empirical research.

Suggested Citation

  • Quentin Jones & Gilad Ravid & Sheizaf Rafaeli, 2004. "Information Overload and the Message Dynamics of Online Interaction Spaces: A Theoretical Model and Empirical Exploration," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 15(2), pages 194-210, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:orisre:v:15:y:2004:i:2:p:194-210

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard B. Freeman & M. Marit Rehavi, 2009. "Helping Workers Online and Offline: Innovations in Union and Worker Organization Using the Internet," NBER Chapters,in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 273-306 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mehmet N. Aydin & N. Ziya Perdahci, 0. "Dynamic network analysis of online interactive platform," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-12.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:9:p:3185-:d:168081 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Tetyana Kuvita & Miroslav Karlíček, 2014. "The Risk of Vampire Effect in Advertisements Using Celebrity Endorsement," Central European Business Review, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2014(3), pages 16-22.
    5. Cumiks Aleksejs & Romanovs Andrejs, 2012. "The Analysis and Modelling of Social Networks: Leader Identification and Information Dissemination," Information Technology and Management Science, Sciendo, vol. 15(1), pages 127-133, December.


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