Commentary on technology
Many of my friends have stopped posting on Facebook. Some have uninstalled the app and others even deleted their accounts.
They are not posting on Twitter either, and the more ephemeral Snapchat hasn’t reached critical mass among my closest friends.
Instagram is the only place where I still get a glimpse of the most intimate side of the people I love the most, but I’d say only 20% of my online friends actively use it.
What causes someone to stop sharing on social media? Is it a natural part of being over 30? Or is there an actual problem with the platform? Talking to 12 of these friends, I learned that there are several groups.
First, those tired of superficial positivism. This is a topical of social media: it’s a known fact that people tend to share their best and not their worst. As a society, we value positivism and praise successes, but we often struggle with negativity and we don’t know how to react to complex issues like mental health or depression.
When everything your friends post is in the “perfect happy” category, it becomes difficult to express feelings around failure, insecurities, sadness, etc. Such frustration creates a distrust for the platform… until you stop using it.
Second, those tired of negativity (a polar opposite of the group above). This might be a trend more specific to the U.S. given the craziness from the Presidential Election, but people in this group cannot take one more rant about the state of the country or our uncertain future.
Facebook lacks a proper way of controlling the kind of posts that you get to see in your News Feed, making it virtually impossible to block, for example, all the shared links to news sites talking about the latest Trump tweet. This can be frustrating for users interested only in personal status updates… until they leave.
Third, those worried about their privacy. People in this group are confused about the complex privacy settings, or they are simply not interested enough in investing the necessary time to control who sees what. Update as of 4/2/2018: the recent privacy scandal with Cambridge Analytica might have pushed many more people into this group, privacy is finally becoming a top priority.
Regardless of the group you feel part of, there is a snowball effect, which could be classified as the fourth group: your friends stop posting for one reason or the other, and you start losing motivation to post as well. “If most of my closest friends will not see it, why share this with acquaintances? why share it at all?”
I find myself in between the first two groups, but I definitely feel the snowball effect affecting my online presence the most, and raising much deeper questions: why do I share any part of my life online to begin with?
What about you? why did you stop posting on Facebook? why did you even start?
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Originally published at geekonrecord.com.