In 2016, Facebook reported that, on average, users spend a whopping 50 minutes a day on its Facebook, Instagram and Messenger platforms (not counting the messaging app WhatsApp). While 50 minutes doesn't sound like a whole lot of time, that's still almost an hour each day that users are scrolling around on social media — and that's more time than any other leisure activity, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the exception of watching TV and movies. We spend more time on Facebook than reading each day (19 minutes on average), playing sports or exercising (17 minutes on average) and even socializing at events (four minutes). In fact, it's almost as much time as we spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours on average).
And, given that there are only 24 hours in the day and the average person sleeps for almost nine of them, that means that more than one-sixteenth of the average user's waking time is spent on Facebook. Unfortunately, many social media users are sucked in because Facebook has become an addiction.
Just today, Instagram product management director Ameet Ranadive and Facebook director of research David Ginsberg officially unveiled a new feature: activity dashboards that let people know just how much time they've spent on the applications on the device they're using, according to Ad Week. Users can now also set daily reminders when they reach a time limit they pre-determine for each app, and they can mute push notifications for a specified period of time to keep the distractions away.
Despite the new features, however, some users have opted to simply get rid of Facebook altogether. Because, let's face it, it can be exhausting. Here's what some former and current users have to say about why they ditched or are have at least thought about ditching the time-sucking social media platform.
1. There's Too Much Drama
"I am a doctor of psychology who quit having a personal Facebook page after about a month of use," says Dr. Julie Gurner. "I'm a really busy woman who runs her own business so, at first, I thought it would be a wonderful and easy way to keep up with old friends. However, I was soon to discover that it was just too much drama between other people, and I found out things about people that I wish I didn't know such as prejudices and other variables. I suppose I discovered quickly that you have the people in your life now that you do for a reason, and letting the past be the past is often a very good thing. I quit having a personal Facebook presence after about a month of use, and I've never had a moment of regret."
2. It's Unhealthy
"I've quit twice for several months at a time," says Meredith McCreight, artist, designer, writer and coach. "I feel like it's more negative and 'ranty' than other social media outlets, like Instagram, for example. But even with the positive posts, it does drive me crazy and people are painting a perfect image of their life that is by no means perfect. And I think that's dangerous — especially for women who are genetically wired to be nurturers and pleasers — because no one can give/be everything to everyone in every moment. We need to give ourselves permission to be imperfect and to live through our own lens, not the lens of social media.
"It's helpful to have Facebook to market my business and connect with coaching peers, so I do still use it, but I have put rules and boundaries in place for how often I check it, how often and what type of content I post, how many notifications I'm subscribed to, etc... Establishing boundaries has allowed me to have a healthy ongoing relationship with Facebook, but I still wish it weren't necessary."
3. It's Draining
"I find Facebook to be extremely exhausting — it drains my energy to scroll through my Facebook feed, silly as that sounds," says Malorie Thompson of Healing Malorie. "I hate conflict and I'm an introvert, which is why I think I find Facebook so tiring. I do have a Facebook account still, but I no longer scroll through it. I keep it so I have a platform to reach out to friends or acquaintances that I would otherwise lose touch with."
4. It Causes Too Much Pressure
"I find Facebook enervating because it creates pressure to keep up with everyone (some friends have actually said 'haven't you seen my page?' when I've asked them in person how they are) and to like their posts, and to garner hundreds of likes ourselves! It's also a bit tiring to sift through all the similar posts about current news (after already reading the news)," says Annabel Hertz, founder of Goodbuy Sugar. "The humble brag is also tiresome, as is constant bragging in general — for everyone I am guessing — not to mention whatever insecurities this habit plays upon (hence the reason people are unhappier using Facebook). There are of course positive, energizing elements to using it, but the superficiality of it all makes it overall an energy sucker.
"I dream of getting off but I still use it because 1) I know too many people who use it as their main means of communications (and it's the best way for me to get in touch/get a response) and because 2) I have an author, artist and business account linked to my personal one, and it always seems like a hassle to add another admin person in order to delink them, plus I am afraid I will mess up and delete my business pages and 3) there are some posts/pages that occasionally offer me information I can actually use or need, linked to my personal account."
5. It Consumes Actual Downtime
"I found Facebook to be an energy suck because I used it whenever I was bored, so I never really had downtime," says Providence Hogan. "Now I only use it to say happy birthday or to post a photo. I hate to say that I only look at a few friends' pages when I think of them, but it’s true."
6. It Hurts Relationships
"I'm a blogger at Life Notes to File, where I explore life lessons that inspire meaningful living," says Sigrid Chu. "I've written about my experience with Facebook and science-based reasons why quitting it can be a good thing ('Here’s Why Quitting Facebook Would be Good For You' for more). I've found a lot of people share the same sentiments. After using Facebook on and off for many years, using it has become exhausting for me. Despite my daily use, Facebook did not help me nurture my relationships with my family and friends. I eventually found out that according to scientific research, Facebook tends to weaken our ties. The weaker those relationships are, the more you try to connect with others and the more information you share. I haven't been on Facebook for a year and a half now. I now use good ole' means of communication such as text messaging and phone calls to truly connect with my family and friends."
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.