Emotions and Digital Well-Being: on Social Media’s Emotional Affordances

Steffen Steinert*, Matthew James Dennis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
115 Downloads (Pure)


Social media technologies (SMTs) are routinely identified as a strong and pervasive threat to digital well-being (DWB). Extended screen time sessions, chronic distractions via notifications, and fragmented workflows have all been blamed on how these technologies ruthlessly undermine our ability to exercise quintessential human faculties. One reason SMTs can do this is because they powerfully affect our emotions. Nevertheless, (1) how social media technology affects our emotional life and (2) how these emotions relate to our digital well-being remain unexplored. Remedying this is important because ethical insights into (1) and (2) open the possibility of designing for social media technologies in ways that actively reinforce our digital well-being. In this article, we examine the way social media technologies facilitate online emotions because of emotional affordances. This has important implications for evaluating the ethical implications of today’s social media platforms, as well as for how we design future ones.
Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalPhilosophy and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Affordances
  • Digital well-being
  • Emotional affordances
  • Emotions
  • Feelings

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