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Pew study points to Facebook fatigue

While Facebook may have more than a billion users and strong usage overall, a new study shows many of those members have or are planning to cut back time they spend on the social network.

A Pew Research study released yesterday finds 61 percent of users surveyed have at one time or another taken a “Facebook vacation” lasting several weeks or more. The phone survey of 1,006 people conducted in December 2012 showed another 27 percent of Facebook users — 38 percent of those aged 18-29 — said they planned to spend less time on the social network this year.

So what’s with the social media sabbaticals? The reasons range from being too busy to getting bombarded with “too much drama”. Twenty one percent said they were too busy or didn’t have time for social networking, the study said. Another ten percent said they “just weren’t interested or just didn’t like it,” while another ten percent called it a “waste of time.”

About nine percent were tired of “too much drama” or gossip from their friends, and eight percent said they worried about spending too much of their time on Facebook.

The study quoted some of those who had Facebook fatigue as saying, “I was tired of stupid comments,” “I had crazy friends. I did not want to be contacted,” or “I took a break when it got boring.”

Others said, “You get burned out on it after a while,” “I gave it up for Lent,” “People were (posting) what they had for dinner,” “I got harassed by someone from my past who looked me up” and “It caused problems in my relationship.”

Only four percent took a break because of privacy or security concerns.

Sixty seven percent of all adults who went online used a social network of some kind, up from 47 percent in 2009. The number of social network users represented about half of all adults in the United States.

Of American adults who use the internet, Pew researchers say two-thirds are on Facebook, making it the dominant online social network in the US. Even one-fifth of internet users who don’t use Facebook say they have used it at one point.

While the vast majority — 72 percent — said they planned to spend the same amount or more time on Facebook, the results of the survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s internet and American Life Project could be an indication that Facebook fatigue may be setting in.

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Published February 06, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated February 05, 2013 at 4:33 pm)

Pew study points to Facebook fatigue

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