February 05, 2013

The Mysterious Act of Facecationing: Now You're Here, Now You're Gone


My sister hates deep sea fish. I don’t know why – maybe because they’re not the prettiest creatures beneath the deep blue – but needless to say, my other sister and I love to tease her about what we consider this funny fear of hers. One day, I found a slideshow of scary deep sea fish, and in typical sisterly fashion, eagerly navigated my way to her Facebook page to post it on her wall; however, when I went to type in her name, it wasn’t there.

She was gone.

I immediately texted her to see what was wrong, where she then promptly responded telling me she had de-activated her account. In other words, it was the temporary death of her digital alternative life. I immediately wondered how I would send her funny memes, images and videos that I knew she would love – and then I became even more disturbed by my own attachment to social media and how accustomed I had become to its ubiquitous presence in my life.

In essence, all my sister did was take a “Facecation,” and apparently, this mysterious vanishing act is being increasingly seen as of late. When you think about it, you most likely know someone who has previously or is currently in remission from the site. Maybe they did it on the whim and decided not to tell anyone – like my sister – or perhaps they made a public declaration and provided other forms of contact for the time being.

Image via Shutterstock

Yahoo also recently reported on one woman who felt she needed a vacation from her never-ending homepage, photos and status updates. Twenty-seven-year-old Ashley Kiley recently explained to ABC News that she simply “needed a break from everyone,” adding, “I was on the site too much and was wasting too much time looking at information about friends.”

Even more, the Pew Internet and American Life Project revealed results from a new study showing that 61 percent of Facebook users have at some point taken a voluntarily multi-week break from the social network, Yahoo reports.

When asked why they decided to say “bye-bye” to the social media site, 21 percent said they were motivated to do so because they were too busy and “didn’t have time for it,” according to Yahoo. Furthermore, 10 percent said it was becoming “waste of time,” while only eight percent said the site was too distracting and they were spending too much time on it.

Among all of the respondents who currently do not have a Facebook, 20 percent said they did try the site out, but only used it once before giving it the ax.

Perhaps Pew is on to something here. It could just be that cutting down on Facebook time may be the a big New Year’s resolution for many, as 27 percent of Facebook users surveyed said they plan to spend less time on the site this year, while 69 percent said they plan to continue using the site for the same amount of time. For three percent, the time they are spending isn’t enough, as they want to actually increase their Facebook use.

Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project and co-author of the new report, further explained to ABC that “the data shows that people are trying to make new calibrations in their life to accommodate new social tools,” adding that “for some, the central calculation is how they spend their time. For others, it’s more of a social reckoning as they ask themselves, ‘What are my friends doing and thinking and how much does that matter to me?’”

Upon returning to Facebook only after one month, Kiley said that she felt good to be back in “the loop.” Despite this, she tries to make a conscious effort to “budget [her] time better.”




Edited by Rachel Ramsey



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