It might be a technology giant used by 2.7 billion people, but Australians are losing their interest in Facebook because they think it is boring, according to new research.
Data from the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AUSSA) showed people aged between 41–56 find it easiest to ditch social media, followed by the much younger generation Z (aged between 6–24).
More than half of the 5,000 survey participants — 52 percent — said their main reasons for limiting social media use were because it created “boredom” and it was “time-wasting”.
University of Wollongong Associate Professor Roger Patulny said the findings revealed that people had more control over their social media habits than they might otherwise have thought.
“People are demonstrating agency and the ability to wind back, and that’s good,” Dr. Patulny said.
- Social media users are reducing their Facebook use, according to research from the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes
- Sociology lecturer Roger Patulny says the main reason people are switching off is because they find social media boring
- He says the more educated a person is, the more likely they are to be able to successfully cut back their use of social media
“It shows we have a capacity to push back against the technology giants if they make our world more boring.”
While some people were concerned with online bullying, privacy or had frustrations with online personas, Dr Patulny said the survey found most people disconnected from social media because they felt it was a poor use of their time.
Social switch-off linked to education
Interestingly, the findings indicate that the more educated people are, the more likely they are to try to successfully reduce time on social media.
“There’s a link between education and disconnecting [from using social media platforms],” Dr Patulny said.
“If you have a university degree, you are most likely to switch off. With a high school or trade qualification, you’re likely to have tried and not disconnected, and if you’re in high school you’re not likely to have tried to disconnect at all.
He said millennials had grown up with social media since they were teenagers and were the first generation to embrace it, which might have intensified their relationship with it.
By contrast, he said the older generation Z was “more cautious of social media and more critical of Facebook”.
News bans detrimental to Facebook
When Facebook shut down news media organisations’ ability to post to their Facebook accounts recently, it was seen as a show of force to highlight the importance of the social network to news companies.
Dr Patulny said a repeat of that move would backfire on the social media enterprise.
“I suspect they’ll shoot themselves in the foot,” he said.