More Americans take Facebook vacations

That's not on the social network but away from it. Bad for Facebook: The youngest, and presumably most active users, are the most likely to step away this year for prolonged breaks, according to Pew Internet.

"Sixty-one percent of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more", according to report "Coming and Going on Facebook", which published this week.

This year, Americans 18-29 are least likely to spend more time on the service (1 percent) and most likely to take a break (38 percent). By comparison, among those over 50, only 17 percent plan breaks, while 4 percent plan do use the social network more. For each group 61 percent and 78 percent, respectively, expect activity to be unchanged.

Among the 61 percent of Facebook vacationers, reasons vary:

  • Conflicting activities -- 21 percent
  • Lack of interest -- 10 percent
  • Content not compelling -- 10 percent
  • Too much drama, gossip -- 9 percent
  • Spending too much time -- 8 percent

Some of the verbatim thoughts from those who took Facebook breaks include the following:

  • "I was tired of stupid comments".
  • "[I had] crazy friends. I did not want to be contacted".
  • "I took a break when it got boring".
  • "It was not getting me anywhere".
  • "Too much drama".
  • “You get burned out on it after a while".
  • "I gave it up for Lent."
  • "I was fasting".
  • "People were [posting] what they had for dinner".
  • "I didn’t like being monitored".
  • "I got harassed by someone from my past who looked me up".
  • "I don’t like their privacy policy".

While 67 percent of American adults use Facebook, 20 percent of respondents left the service altogether. Some others who stay use it less: "Some 42 percent of Facebook users ages 18-29 and 34 percent of those ages 30-49 say that the time they spend on Facebook on a typical day has decreased over the last year".

To emphasize, younger adults are a core demographic for the service and coveted by advertisers. This is not a group Facebook should want to lose, whether they cut back or take a vacation from the service.

Photo Credit: Robert Scoble

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