Every New Year’s causes a backlash of resolutions that are as original as they are banal. Usually, the pinnacle of these is, “lose weight, eat healthy and gain muscle.” For 2014, however, deleting Facebook seems to be the most prevalent caveat. All this in the round, people are wondering, “Is Facebook circling the drain?”
There are a host of reasons why many people are deciding to delete their Facebook accounts in 2014. With the expansion of technological innovation, privacy is becoming increasingly narrow. Members worry that pictures posted from Saturday’s party will be seen by family members and potential employers. These worries self-defeat the needs that Facebook originally intended to fulfill—namely, self-expression and a sense of belonging.
The term “self-expression” has become increasingly thin since the rise of Facebook. In 2013, the term “selfie” quickly proliferated the internet. A selfie is a reference to a photo that someone has taken of themselves and posted on social media. Rather than becoming an icon for self-expression, Facebook has become an icon for narcissism.
Others are abandoning Facebook because of the shallowness of their Facebook “friends.” It is a common joke that, “If we are friends on Facebook, then we must be vague acquaintances in real life!” The original intent of Facebook was to provide a way for people to stay in touch with friends despite geographical constraints, yet the indirectness of Facebook has tarnished a meaningful relationship in the same way that it has tarnished meaningful self-expression. Liking a Facebook status fulfills a quick high and is cheaper than an expression stamped into a Hallmark card.
Another reason some people feel the need to abandon Facebook is that social networking cannot trump the meaningfulness found in a real community. The social network suppresses rather than expresses the happiness found in a tangible community. In fact, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan found that the most active Facebook members tend to be more depressed. To make matters worse, Facebook is, to put it tersely, a democracy for measuring dicks. Location updates, statuses and engagement announcements abound, and are a stark reminder of how much better everyone else’s lives are. A study at Utah Valley University reported that frequent Facebook users tended to be less satisfied with their lives. It is reasons like these that many social net-workers feel that Facebook is circling the drain.
A further reason many people are deleting their Facebook accounts is the amount of time wasted on the social networking site. Facebook is fantastically addictive and is a quick fix for boredom. Unfortunately, Facebook also influences procrastination and thwarts productivity. Much of the time wasted on Facebook occurs at work. Annual Media Reports estimate Americans waste six and a half hours on social media websites a month.
Facebook is becoming out of fashion among adolescents. As more and more baby boomers step on board Facebook, more and more teenagers are abandoning ship. Is should therefore be unsurprising that adolescents are not attracted to a social network increasingly dominated by their parents and even grandparents. Furthermore, Facebook is no longer the only big dog in town. Twitter, Reddit, Youtube and LinkedIn are gaining significant traction in the marketplace of social media.
Although Facebook’s primary audience has thinned out, it is still doing remarkably well. Questions regarding whether Facebook is circling the drain are cast in a dubious light by its populated audience. In 2008, Facebook’s dead and buried rival Myspace reached its peak with 100 million members. In contrast, Facebook has well over a billion active members and counting. In short: New Years resolutions be damned. The social network is here to stay whether we like it on our Facebook statuses or not.
An Editorial By Nathan Cranford