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Four reasons breaking up with Facebook is hard to do

Date:
December 14, 2015
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
New research has revealed four reasons why our relationship with Facebook is complicated. The results of a new study highlight the complexities involved in people's ongoing decisions about how to use, or not use, social media.
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Admit it, you've thought about walking away from Facebook at one time or another. Perhaps you've gone so far as to shut down your account, swearing never to return, only to meekly log back in a week later.

New research from Cornell Information Science discovered four reasons why our relationship with Facebook is complicated:

• Perceived addiction -- Those who feel that Facebook is addictive or habitual were more likely to return, according to the group's research. One participant described this habitual aspect by saying, "In the first ten days, whenever I opened up an Internet browser, my fingers would automatically go to 'f'."

• Privacy and surveillance -- People who use Facebook largely to manage how other people think of them are more likely to log back in, while users who felt their Facebook activity was being monitored were less likely to revert.

• Subjective mood -- Are you in a good mood? You're less likely to renege on your pledge to stay off Facebook.

• Other social media -- The group found that Facebook users were less likely to log back in if they had other social media outlets -- like Twitter, for instance -- to occupy their time. Interestingly, though, those who reflected on the appropriate role for technology in their social lives were more likely to revert. In many of these cases, people returned to Facebook but altered their use, for example, uninstalling the app from their phones, reducing their number of friends, or limiting the amount of time spent on the platform.

"These results show just how difficult daily decisions about social media use can be," said Eric Baumer, the study's first author annd Information Science and Communication Researcher at Cornell. "In addition to concerns over personal addiction, people are reluctant about corporations collecting, analyzing, and potentially monetizing their personal information. However, Facebook also serves numerous important social functions, in some cases providing the only means for certain groups to keep in touch. These results highlight the complexities involved in people's ongoing decisions about how to use, or not use, social media."


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Materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. P. S. Baumer, S. Guha, E. Quan, D. Mimno, G. K. Gay. Missing Photos, Suffering Withdrawal, or Finding Freedom? How Experiences of Social Media Non-Use Influence the Likelihood of Reversion. Social Media Society, 2015; 1 (2) DOI: 10.1177/2056305115614851

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Four reasons breaking up with Facebook is hard to do." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 December 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151214090006.htm>.
Cornell University. (2015, December 14). Four reasons breaking up with Facebook is hard to do. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 24, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151214090006.htm
Cornell University. "Four reasons breaking up with Facebook is hard to do." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151214090006.htm (accessed September 24, 2016).