Quitting Facebook isn’t just for teens. While younger users appear to be migrating away from the site in droves in favor of other social networks like Snapchat and Twitter, some older adults are making the choice to move away from social media all together. The reasons are varied but there are at least five that are frequently cited and that may serve as inspiration to make quitting Facebook a New Year’s Resolution for others this year.
1. Facebook makes people feel bad.
Facebook has long suffered a reputation for being linked to depression and now a study from the University of Michigan says there may really be something to that claim. The study found that heavy Facebook use was tied to lower overall life satisfaction. The more subjects used Facebook, the sadder they reported becoming through their responses to standardized research questionnaires. The reason behind this is unclear but the researchers were able to further determine that their subject’s were not more likely to be on Facebook because they felt bad, but that it was clearly the other way around.
Some have hypothesized that seeing friends’ constant happy status updates, reading about their accomplishments and viewing their gleaming family portraits in the absence of accompanying negative information about their lives may lead to feelings of jealousy and inadequacy. Others say that while it is gratifying to post things on Facebook that are liked and commented on, the opposite is true as well. If posts are not getting a reaction, it may cause users to feel ignored or rejected.
2. Facebook harms real social connections.
Facebook connections can be connections with real people but they are often only shallow and peripheral. Despite the rise of Facebook friends, at least one study has shown that over the past 25+ years, Americans have become more isolated and have fewer close friends that they spend time with in real life.
In addition, Facebook and the rise of the smart phone have led to the phenomena of people being “along together.” That is, people are busy checking the status updates of people they are only loosely connected with while sitting silently in the same room with family and friends doing the same, throwing up a barrier to conversation and connection.
Facebook may also be a cause for the development of jealousy in intimate relationships.
3. Facebook makes people narcissistic.
Facebook arguably gives people an inflated sense of self-importance. Many things shared on Facebook would seem ridiculous if shared face to face. Few people really need to know what their friends, Facebook or otherwise, ate for breakfast that morning or whether they chose the treadmill or the elliptical at the gym.
4. Facebook is a distraction.
In a busy world, many Facebook quitters say they just don’t have time for the distraction. Making real life connections and obligations a priority seems to be a common refrain among those committing social media suicide, making it an essential inclusion in this list of five reasons to consider quitting Facebook as a New Year’s Resolution.
5. Facebook doesn’t protect your private information.
Among the top cited reasons for quitting Facebook are concerns about privacy. Increasingly, people are leaving the site because of fears that their information could be sold or maliciously hacked. This trend seems to be increasing as Facebook has introduced more and different methods of advertising.
Facebook has become such a huge part of American life, that quitting it can feel like a real loss, but some say it is worth taking the plunge to improve interpersonal communication, real life relationships and productivity. While there are almost certainly more than five reasons to quit Facebook, these five may be enough to reflect upon and consider when deciding whether to make a no more Facebook New Year’s Resolution for 2014.
By Michele Wessel