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CHI 2013: Facebook Limiting, Leaving, and (re)Lapsing


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Presented at CHI 2013 in Paris, France by Madeline E. Smith & Victoria Schwanda Sosik on May 2, 2013.

Full Paper:
Baumer, E.P.S., Adams, P., Khovanskaya, V., Liao, T., Smith, M.E., Sosik, V.S., and Williams, K. (2013). Limiting, Leaving, and (re)Lapsing: An Exploration of Facebook Non-Use Practices and Experiences. In Proceedings of CHI '13.


use such sites. This paper presents results from a questionnaire of over 400 Internet users, focusing specifically on Facebook and those users who have left the service. Results show the lack of a clear, binary distinction between use and non-use, that various practices enable diverse ways and degrees of engagement with and disengagement from Facebook. Furthermore, qualitative analysis reveals numerous complex and interrelated motivations and justifications, both for leaving and for maintaining some type of connection. These motivations include: privacy, data misuse, productivity, banality, addiction, and external pressures. These results not only contribute to our understanding of online sociality by examining this under-explored area, but they also build on previous work to help advance how we conceptually account for the sociological processes of non-use.

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CHI 2013: Facebook Limiting, Leaving, and (re)Lapsing

  1. 1. Limiting, Leaving, and (re)LapsingAn Exploration of Facebook Non-Use Practices & ExperiencesCornell
UniversityCHI 2013 Paris, FranceKaiton WilliamsVictoria Schwanda SosikMadeline E. SmithEric P. S. Baumer Tony LiaoVera KhovanskayaPhil Adams
  2. 2. Non-Use of•  Kline (2003)•  Wyatt (2005)•  Satchell &Dourish (2009)
  3. 3. Research QuestionsRQ1: What is the prevalence of both actualFacebook nonuse and considerationof non-use?RQ2: In what practices do Facebook non-users engage, and what is theprevalence of these various practices?RQ3: What motivations are used to justify,and what experiences surround,Facebook non-use?
  4. 4. Do you currently have a Facebook account?Yes (I have an active account or an account that has been deactivated)No (I have permanently deleted my account, or have never had a FBaccount)Have you ever considered permanently deleting your Facebook account1 (No, I would never consider it)2345 (Yes, I think about it all the time)How happy were you with your decision to permanently delete youraccount?Very unhappySomewhat unhappyAmbivalentSomewhat happyVery happyData Collection & Analysis
  5. 5. Data Collection & AnalysisPlease describe a time that you questioned your choice not to have aFacebook account or felt pressured to sign up for an account.Please describe the time that you deleted your Facebook account, howyou decided to do it, and what happened afterward.Please describe a time that made you consider deactivating or deletingyour account and why you eventually chose not to.Please tell a story about when you or someone you know either leftFacebook or systematically limited their Facebook use.
  6. 6. Profile of Respondents• 410 respondentso  199 female, 160 male, 4 other (47 no response)o  19 to 76 years old; mean=35 (48 no response)
  7. 7. ResistingMale, 42 yearsUX DesignerIm a non conformist. I was neverinterested by it. It is a passive way ofkeeping making friends. Now thatpeople can friend companys [sic], I feelmy choice was right. I abhorcommercialism.• 75 respondents
  8. 8. LeavingFemale, 49 yearsAcademic ResearcherI tried to permanently close my accountbut apparently I only deactivated it.This survey has made me aware thatthere is another procedure to removemy account permanently, although Idoubt whether I will be able to find itsince I looked for this before!• 127
  9. 9., 31 yearsPhD CandidateI deleted my account permanently inMay 2010. However, when I went toIndia to do fieldwork, I found that Icouldn’t avoid facebook and do myparticipation so I have aresearchcontacts only account.Female, 25 yearsStudentI deactivated 2 or 3 times during myfinals. I used to get distracted duringthe final week. I was happy to get backafterward.• 59 respondents
  10. 10. LimitingFemale, 39 yearsPostdoctoral Fellow“I was writing my dissertation andfound FB to be my number onedistraction. I had my husband changemy password and he’d log me on oncea week or so as a treat.• 64 respondents
  11. 11. Interpretive Themes•  Banality•  Productivity•  Privacy•  Data Use and Misuse•  Social and Institutional Pressures•  Addiction, Withdrawal, and Envy
  12. 12. Interpretive Themes•  Banality•  Productivity•  Privacy•  Data Use and Misuse•  Social and Institutional Pressures•  Addiction, Withdrawal, and Envy
  13. 13. Data Use and MisuseMale, 40 yearsWriterFacebook started adding moreinsidious methods of stealing user datalocated on personal computers (ratherthan uploaded to the site).Female, 31 yearsGraduate StudentI want to limit the amount ofinformation I disclose about myself andhand over to corporations who profitfrom this at the expense of my
  14. 14. Social and Institutional PressuresFemale, 42 yearsWeb DesignerI had an ex boyfriend and his ex wifeharassing me via facebook msg.Around the same time, I had a coupleof dates and a guy started stalking meand asking me to friend him. It wasthen I decided to deactivate myaccount.
  15. 15. Social and Institutional PressuresMale, 32 yearsPostdoctoral FellowI teach students. There were timeswhen I thought it might be better thatmy personal infromation will be lessaccessible to them.Male, 30 yearsPhD StudentUnfortunately deactivating my accountis not possible right now, because Ineed it for my professional life, forexample when being an organizer for abig conference or networking withother
  16. 16. Addiction, Withdrawal, and EnvyMale, 28 yearsPost-docAfterward I went through facebookwithdrawal. I would be sitting at mycomputer and feel the need to login tofacebook [...]Female, 36 yearsUniversity ProfessorA friend from gradschool very abruptlysent a status update that he was leavingand the next day deleted his account. Iwish I had the nerve to do the
  17. 17. Kaiton Williams will miss youVictoria S. Sosik will miss youMadeline E. Smith will miss youEric P. S. Baumer will miss you Tony Liao will miss youVera Khovanskaya will miss youPhil Adams will miss youYour one billion friends will no longer be able to keep in touch with you.Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?Deactivating your account will disable your profile and remove your name and picture from most things youve shared on Facebook. Someinformation may still be visible to others, such as your name in their friends list and messages you sent.Search for people. places and things
  18. 18. Deproblematizing the Non-User• Non-use ismeaningful initself• Instead oflagging adoption,we saw
  19. 19. Thank you!kow2@cornell.eduKaiton Williamsvls48@cornell.eduVictoria Schwanda Sosikmadsesmith@u.northwestern.eduMadeline E. Smithcl566@cornell.eduTony Liaovdk9@cornell.eduVera Khovanskayapja22@cornell.eduPhil Adamsericpsb@cornell.eduEric P. S. BaumerDGE-1144153 & DGE-0824162