Many Facebook users take some time off
NEW YORK — Too much drama, boredom and scads of irrelevant information are just some of the reasons Facebook users give for taking a break from the world's biggest social networking site for weeks at a time, according to a new study.
A report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project found that 61 percent of Facebook users had taken a hiatus of at least several weeks for myriad reasons, whether they were weary from an onslaught of gossip or, for the more pious, the arrival of Lent.
Yet the use of Facebook, whether constant or not, is pervasive in America.
Of the American adults who use the Internet, 67 percent are on Facebook, Pew found. That compares with 20 percent who use LinkedIn and 16 percent who are on Twitter.
But users do come and go, some temporarily, and some for good. Twenty percent of those with Internet access said they used the site at one point, but no longer do. By its own count, Facebook Inc. has 1.06 billion users worldwide who check in at least once a month. This includes millions of duplicate and fake accounts. More than 150 million users are in the United States.
The largest slice of users, 20 percent, said that they were simply too busy with their own lives to follow the constant stream of status updates, George Takei quotes and baby photos.
Privacy and security concerns, which have received plenty of media coverage, were low on the list. Only 4 percent of people gave these reasons, combined with concerns about ads and spam, as their “Facebook vacation” motivation.
Lee Rainie, director of the Internet and American Life Project, said privacy is more of a big policy question that people do not concern themselves with day by day. Rather, people are contemplating how they spend their time.
“People are making interesting calibrations and recalibrations” about how they spend their time, and the worth of constantly staying connected to friends, family and others on line, Rainie said.
And while people do take Facebook breaks, Internet users are logging in more frequently than ever, the study found.
Among other interesting tidbits:
• 59 percent of Facebook users said that the site is about as important to them as it was a year ago.
• 12 percent said Facebook is more important to them than it was a year ago.
• 28 percent said it has become less important.
• 8 percent says they took a break from Facebook because they were spending too much time using it.
• 69 percent said they plan to spend the same amount of time on Facebook in the coming year. Twenty-seven percent plan to spend less time on the site, and 3 percent, more time.
In response, Facebook said that its growth and user engagement remains strong.
“Facebook ... ended the year with more than 1 billion monthly active users, 618 million daily active users and 680 million people accessing Facebook from mobile devices,” according to a company statement.
“Our announcement came on the heels of independent analyst reports which concluded that Facebook is the most downloaded mobile app in the U.S., and that time spent on Facebook accounts for over 20 percent of all time spent on mobile apps in the U.S.”
The Pew study of 1,006 U.S. adults was done in December. It has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S. Steel shares jump on turnaround strategy
- Bayer plastics unit may be gone
- Fed not budging on rate increase
- Investors applaud central bank’s decision
- Fed speculation fuels stock gains; Dow rises 100 points
- Consol, Noble expect at least $325 million from partnership’s IPO
- 2 top executives at Dick’s Sporting Goods to retire
- Mylan CEO Bresch sets sights on growth
- Microsoft to pay $2.5B for ‘Minecraft’ maker
- UPMC buying New Castle-based Jameson Health System
- U.S. Steel to restructure Canadian subsidiary, halt 2 U.S. expansion projects