Study: Facebook fatigue -- it's real

Bored or annoyed by Facebook? You're not alone. A majority of people surveyed by the Pew Internet and American Life Project said they had taken sabbaticals from the social network at some point, to escape the drama, or the tedium.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
2 min read

It's not just you. Tuning out Facebook for weeks at a time is commonplace, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which found that a majority of the current Facebook users it surveyed have at one time or another tired to the point of avoiding the social-networking site.

Pew used Princeton Survey Research Associates International to conduct the actual telephone interviews with a representative sample of 1,006 adults in the U.S.

The Pew study found that 61 percent of the Facebook users who responded have taken extended, weeks-long breaks from the site. Those who have taken Facebook sabbaticals did so for the obvious reasons: 21 percent were too busy, 10 percent lost interest, and 10 percent felt it was a waste of time.

Pew Research
The verbatim comments that Pew recorded sound like overheards at coffee shops across the country. Here are a few:

  • "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."
  • "People were [posting] what they had for dinner."
  • "I don't like their privacy policy."
  • "It caused problems in my [romantic] relationship."

The study, should you trust the findings, seems to make it clear that Facebook fatigue is indeed real. We've all been there, apparently.

Moreover, the Pew study paints Facebook as a place of growing irrelevancy and tedium for an increasing percentage of adults. Family member and friend connections may keep people attached to the site, which means they won't quit Facebook, but they're not visiting as often, nor are they experiencing the same type of enjoyment as they once did, according to the research.

Forty-two percent of Facebook users ages 18 to 29, and 34 percent of those ages 30 to 49 say that the time they spend on Facebook on a typical day has decreased over the last year. A majority of Facebook users, or 69 percent, say they plan to spend the same amount of time on the site this year, but more than a quarter, or 27 percent, say they will spend less time on Facebook this year.

Pew's most disconcerting finding, at least if you're betting on Facebook's long-term success, underscores what the social network warned its investors about last week: the cool kids are so over Facebook. According to the survey, 38 percent of Facebook users ages 18 to 29 say that in 2013 they expect to spend less time using the site.