The majority of Facebook users have, at onetime or another, temporarily unfriended the social network, taking breaks of several weeks or more for a variety of reasons ranging from lack of time to“too much drama,” according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.
The top reason cited for checking out of Facebook was lack of time, with 21% ofrespondents citing this as their primary reason for taking a “Facebook vacation,” according to the Pew phone survey of 1,006 adult respondents in the U.S.
Ten percent said they simply lost interest, while another 10% said they felt the site was a “waste of time” or “irrelevant.” Nine percent felt there was “too much drama,” or a distracting amount of gossip and negativity from other users. And 8% wanted to cut back because they felt they were spending too much time on the site.
One in five online users in the survey said they had given up Facebook entirely, citing broadly the same reasons as those who took a temporary hiatus.
Even so, Facebook remains the dominant social network, with more than two-thirds of American adults using the site. About 41% of Facebook users reported checking in to the social network more frequently in 2012 than they had in the past, up from 33% in 2011, according to Pew’s Internet & American Life Project.
“These data show that people are trying to make new calibrations in their life to accommodate new social tools,” said Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet Project and a co-author of the new report. “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?’ They are adding up the pluses and minuses on a kind of networking balance sheet and they are trying to figure out how much they get out of connectivity versus how much they put into it.”