If you’ve ever thought of deleting your Facebook account, but couldn’t quite bring yourself to click the button, you’re not alone. Facebook is the world’s largest social media site with 1.55 billion monthly active users and though we could all fill our time with much more productive activities, the fact that it is deemed newsworthy when someone decides to go cold turkey for just a few days tells us that we won’t be breaking the habit anytime soon. And despite studies revealing that the social network can have a negative effect on your mental health (and that time off it is good for you) we can probably all think of a myriad of reasons as to why we decide to keep our profiles, but now science says there are legitimate reasons – four of them to be exact – as to why this is.
According to a new paper published at Cornell Information Science, the researchers looked at people who tried to participate in a challenge to stay off Facebook for 99 days but failed, and thus, they discovered four main reasons why it’s so hard for us to give up our accounts.
They are the following:
- Perceived Addiction – Those who feel that Facebook is addictive or habitual were more likely to return, according to the group’s research. One participant described this aspect by saying, “In the first ten days, whenever I opened up an internet browser, my fingers would automatically go to ‘f.'”
- Surveillance – Image (or perceived image) plays a big part in our Facebook addiction. Users who felt their Facebook activity was being monitored were less likely to use the site while those who were more conscious of their overall online image are more likely to log back in.
- Subjective Mood – In a good mood? Then chances are you’ll stay away. Basically, the happier you are offline, the less you want to talk about it digitally.
- Lack of Other Social Media – The group found that Facebook users were less likely to log back in if they had other social media outlets – like Twitter, for example. This makes sense as social media is popular because so many use it as an outlet to express their thoughts and feelings – it would be pretty hard to give that up if Facebook was the only medium you used to do this.
The team’s findings were drawn from more than 5,000 surveys. So, there you have it, this is supposedly why we just can’t quit. But so long as you’re not going completely overboard in terms of usage, Facebook can be used for a number of positive reasons and help you stay connected to those that may not be where you are at this moment in time.
See the study here