Breaking Up is Hard to Do - At Least, with Facebook

Want some reasons to break up with Facebook? 

Experts say there are four but I'm sure you can think of many more.  The time your (ex) fiance changes his listing back to "single" (and this is before he tells you!). The time you learned (as I have, many times) about the parties your kid's not invited to.  The endless stream of kids making high honors, or slugging the winning ball or hot beach vacations when you were just jumped by a loose dog and had your cell phone stolen, to boot (read: me).  

New research from Cornell Information Science discovered four reasons why our relationship with Facebook is complicated, according to

• 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 habitual aspect by saying, “In the first ten days, whenever I opened up an Internet browser, my fingers would automatically go to 'f'.”

• Privacy and surveillance – People who use Facebook largely to manage how other people think of them are more likely to log back in, while users who felt their Facebook activity was being monitored were less likely to revert.

• Subjective mood – Are you in a good mood? You’re less likely to renege on your pledge to stay off Facebook.

• 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 instance – to occupy their time. Interestingly, though, those who reflected on the appropriate role for technology in their social lives were more likely to revert. In many of these cases, people returned to Facebook but altered their use, for example, uninstalling the app from their phones, reducing their number of friends, or limiting the amount of time spent on the platform.

Let's face it.  People use Facebook to brag.  It's that simple.  We all want others to think our lives are more exciting and full than they really are.  I have a friend who posts just about everything, from what he's eating to where he's running to how much money he scammed off people selling Christmas trees for the March of Dimes.  (Not sure I'd post that.)

“These results show just how difficult daily decisions about social media use can be,” says Eric Baumer, the study’s first author and Information Science and Communication Researcher at Cornell. “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.”

Oops, gotta go.  It's time to post that pic of my son hanging the lights on the Christmas tree..


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