According to Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, every U.S. user of the social network spends about 40 minutes on posting, commenting and liking every day. This might not sound that much, but in one week it’s almost six hours. This means the average user spends a quarter of a day every week on Facebook. Why did it become so important? Does Facebook make its users happy or is their lives better without it? Danish scientists now have the answer.
One week without Facebook seems to be impossible for many people. 67 % use the social network to stay in touch with former classmates and co-workers. Despite other networks, Facebook is primarily used to connect people online who know each other in the real life. People on other networks like Twitter mostly follow others without personally knowing each other.
Facebook currently has 1.55 billion monthly active users. Though more and more people leave the network, mostly because privacy cannot be guaranteed. In July 2015 it was revealed that Manhattan prosecutors can seek access for users’ profile information in case they obtain a search warrant. This raised privacy concerns of what the government can do to access Social Media accounts.
Because of the users on Facebook mostly interact with their real-life-friends, they share very private details about their lives. But what most of them not consider, is the fact, that not only their friends get the information. People who just met someone can first google that person, check his Facebook account and decide to get to know that person or better not. Also a boss can do that to figure out information about the person he wants to hire. Or a former classmate, or ex lover can easily find and track down a person, as most members use their real names on Facebook.
Users should keep in mind what they post before they put it on Facebook.
Despite these privacy concerns, Facebook is still the most popular social network. It seems to be the place where the whole family, and all friends are united. They come together in one place, share their thoughts and keep everyone up to date of what’s going on. But how will life be without it? Scientists of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, the Danish capital, divided the 1,095 people who took part in the study, into two groups. One of them continued using Facebook, the other group paused for one week.
Not only that the people without Facebook had more time to spend in real life, they also felt less pressure to check messages and pictures permanently. Feeling this pressure can cause stress. 88 % felt happy after one week without Facebook, 84 % appreciated their lives. In the group that continued using the network, it was 81 % who felt happy, and 75 % appreciated life. The abstainers also reported that they can concentrate better and have a richer social life. The second group could not report such a change.
“Instead of focusing on what we actually need, we have an unfortunate tendency to focus on what other people have.” -authors of the study