Researchers believe users become hooked on social media sites

Posted on January 7, 2013

 

Many people have tried to leave a social media site such as Facebook or Twitter, only to reactivate the account within days. At this time of year, many are posting that their resolution is to spend less time on these sites and more ‘quality’ time with friends and family, but several researchers have suggested that this is unlikely to happen – good news for the thousands of organisations and businesses who depend on social news feeds for promotion.

Experts are debating issues such as whether social media sites create an addiction, or whether we simply become obsessed with them and don’t like to miss out. Norwegian researchers have created a tool, the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale, which focuses on many of the same issues that define other addictions, such as how much time users spend thinking about Facebook.

Others have argued for the positive side of feeling compelled to use these sites, saying that there is nothing wrong with prioritising social activities. The interactive nature of these sites means that users can feel compelled to check them every other minute, whether to follow a discussion or argument or to take turns in a game. Facebook also makes it notoriously easy to return after deactivating an account, as the user’s information is saved and can be restored at the click of a button.

Whatever the reason for our compulsion to keep using social media sites, they have certainly had a huge impact on commercial activity, with companies of all sizes making use of the low-cost opportunities to promote the latest news and build better relationships with customers.

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