Members of Facebook Admit It Can Be Too Much ; 61% of Users Have Taken Breaks, and Social Media Burnout May Be Building

Article excerpt

A Pew Research study found that 61 percent of Facebook users admit to taking a break from the social network.

Facebook is the most popular social network in the United States - - roughly two-thirds of adults in the country use it on a regular basis. But that does not mean they don't get sick of it.

A new survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, conducted in December, found that 61 percent of Facebook members said they had voluntarily taken breaks from the site, for as many as several weeks at a time.

The main reasons for their social media sabbaticals were: not having enough time to dedicate to their profiles, an overall decrease in their interest in the site, and the general sentiment that Facebook was a major waste of time.

About 4 percent cited privacy and security concerns as contributing to their departure. Although those people eventually resumed their regular activity, an additional 20 percent of Facebook members said they had deleted their accounts.

Lee Rainie, the director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, which conducted the survey, described the results as a kind of "social reckoning."

"These data show that people are trying to make new calibrations in their life to accommodate new social tools," Mr. Rainie wrote in an e-mail. Facebook members are beginning to ask themselves, "'What are my friends doing and thinking and how much does that matter to me?"' he said. "They are adding up the pluses and minuses on a kind of networking balance sheet and they are trying to figure out how much they get out of connectivity vs. …