The smartest people you know are those few rebels who never signed up for Facebook and don't ever intend to. A wealth of research has been conducted since the social networking platform was launched in 2004. People spend an average of 50 minutes a day on Facebook, which is more than they typically spend reading or exercising. It's probably not a good thing, considering that using the internet for socializing leads to people feeling they have a lower quality of life. And Facebook specifically tends to elicit social comparison, a practice associated with worse mental health.
Studies aside, here's what I hate about it.
It saps my productivity when I use it as a distraction when real work seems tedious. It makes me feel unliked when my good friend doesn't like my posts, but comments on and likes posts from people she hasn't seen since high school. It makes me feel annoyed when people use is as a platform to publish rants. And I don't understand the practice of taking selfies--alone--without some kind of event as context.
Yet I continue to check it nearly every day.
I congratulate myself that at least I'm not like those people who publicly swear off Facebook, saying "Goodbye friends" only to return months later. Who am I kidding? My continued use of the site--in spite of all my complaints--makes me the biggest hypocrite of all.
With 2.2 billion monthly users, nearly a third of the world's population uses Facebook and I'd bet a large number of them begrudgingly use the site as I do, or as my husband does--never posting, commenting or liking anything--just surreptitiously watching the activities of others.
People secretly enjoy hate-reading.
At least that's speculation raised by researchers at The Open University in the United Kingdom. After surveying and interviewing a sample of 100 Facebook users, they found that people continue to use the site and don't unfriend others in spite of being regularly annoyed or offended by the social network. The researchers believe people take a weird sort of pleasure in judging others on Facebook, sort of like watching a TV show you hate merely to mock it.
People keep using Facebook because of FOMO.
According to researchers at Nottingham Trent University, people can become addicted to social networking sites and have symptoms similar to what happens with substance-related compulsions, such as mood problems, withdrawal and relapse. What plays into it: the fear of missing out (FOMO). Defined as "a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent," higher levels of FOMO are seen with greater use of Facebook.
Quitting isn't easy.
First, chances are, you've posted many precious photos on Facebook over the years and thinking about quitting likely feels like losing all those memories. Second, the reality is that Facebook does let you keep up-to-date on family members or friends you rarely see. And third, Facebook itself doesn't make quitting easy. Not only do you have to find the deactivation link in your settings, you have to enter your password which calls up the photos of some of your closest friends. As I hover my pointer over the deactivate button I see their faces and the words that Julie, John and Kari--real friends of mine--will miss me. And Facebook tells me my 422 friends will no longer be able to keep in touch with me.
I'm pretty sure the people who really want to keep in touch with me would find another way. Still, I navigate away--Facebook account intact.