With almost a sixth of the global population using Facebook once a month, the social media site has confounded the sceptics.
But new research reveals increasing numbers are “pushing back” against ubiquitous social media.
An extensive study into the online emergence of push back on social media has been published this week in the International Journal of Communication.
The research studied how people talked about social media and their articulated reasons for wanting or needing a break.
It found Facebook resisters emerged in force quite quickly, and earned a long article in The New York Times in 2011.
The key reasons for switching off from Facebook either permanently or for a few weeks were:
- Desire for downtime
- Desire to connect more in face-to-face relationships
- Desire to create space for one’s kids to enjoy traditional childhood activities
- Desire to reduce time spent on attention seeking online noise
- Desire to retain or restore a sense of privacy
The findings were in line with research conducted by the Pew Centre's Internet and American Life Project in 2013.
In the Pew research, one in five adults said they no longer use Facebook and 61 per cent of current users had taken a break from Facebook for more than a week.
The most common reasons for taking a break were:
- Feeling too busy or not having time for it: 21 per cent
- Not being interested enough or disliking it: 10 per cent
- Waste of time or irrelevant content: 10 per cent
- Too much drama and negativity: 9 per cent
- Spending too much time on the site: 8 per cent
While both studies were exclusively focused on American users, Australian digital culture and social media usage trends are similar.
According to an annual survey conducted by Sensis earlier this year 69 per cent of Australians use social media.
Of this group, 27 per cent check social media sites every day and 19 per cent check more than five times a day. Over 90 per cent of these have a Facebook profile.