For bloggers and social media managers or even a small business owner who handles his or her social media marketing, they could try to attribute their constant Facebook trolling to getting work done and sourcing for sales. But how about that individual who has nothing to lose or gain being on/off Facebook but just can’t get him/herself to staying away.Admit it, you have thought about quitting Facebook for good, even logged out of the app on your phone, only to meekly sign back in for a peek a few days later. The reality is, you are not alone.Researchers at the Cornell University have identified reasons that prevent people from quitting Facebook altogether.There are four main reasons why users aren’t able to shrug off the habit.
- There is perceived addiction. A lot of users feel that Facebook is addictive. And such users are likely to return to the social network. One participant in the study described it, “In the first 10 days, whenever I opened up an internet browser, my fingers would automatically go to ‘f’.”
- There is the issue of privacy and surveillance. Those users who feel that their Facebook activity was being monitored are likely to stay away from the social media longer than those who use Facebook to create a virtual personality of how they want their friends to see them.
- Third is the subjective issue of mood. When in a good mood, the user is less likely to break the pledge and will stay away from logging in to Facebook. But it is exactly the opposite when the user is in a bad mood, or generally displeased about something.
- The final factor relates to access to other social media networks. Researchers found that users with access to other social media platforms, such as Twitter, are more likely to not have a Facebook relapse. The researchers also noticed that in many of these cases, while people returned to Facebook, the usage was significantly different compared to earlier. And some users actually uninstalled the Facebook app from their phones.
“These results show just how difficult daily decisions about social media use can be,” says Baumer. “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.”This research was done by Information Science and Communication Researcher Eric Baumer, Ph.D student Shion Guha, Emily Quan, MPS ’15, and professors David Mimno and Geri Gay.Read more