Whenever a New Year rolls around, people make resolutions to start or end behaviors. Some promise to start exercising, others vow to ditch smoking. This year, I noticed numerous Facebook friends were going to renounce – or at least take a break from – social media.
And so I inquired, ironically on social media, who had taken a break – or planned to take a break – from it.
"I took time off Facebook because I was obsessively checking my phone and it was possibly contributing to depression," says Andy Stephens.
There are many articles floating around about the negative impact social media has on some people's lives. Although social media connects people and promotes networking, it also conversely leaves many feeling isolated or "left out."
Some users say it became a tool to measure their self worth or how much their friends liked and appreciated them.
"I would constantly check Facebook to see if people were liking things I'd posted or commented on, just searching for affirmation," says Stephens.
Stephens says the first couple days after he uninstalled the Facebook app on his phone were challenging.
"I'd find myself checking my phone then remembering that I'd uninstalled the app," says Stephens. "But around the third or fourth day I thought about it less and less. It didn't go away entirely, but I felt way less anxious."
Stephens eventually returned to Facebook because his friends coordinate most of their social activities on social media.
"I don't know that getting off Facebook helped cure my anxiety, but it certainly helped me manage it while I was getting it sorted," says Stephens.
Sarah Ross says she’s leaving Facebook, at least for a couple of months, because she’s "obsessed" with it.
"I find myself spending more time on Facebook than doing anything else when I’m not working," says Ross, who is single and 45.
Ross says she does not even enjoy people's posts – she usually finds them annoying, boring or self-righteous. And yet, she can’t stop reading them or looking at the photos.
"I scroll through everything and when I’m done, I just feel like my life is boring or feel hurt because my friends get together without me or annoyed by some conservative crap my family members say," she says. "I need a break."
There are more than 750 million active accounts on Facebook – one in nine people in the world log on – and it’s been called the most addictive social media site.
For some, Facebook is not only a time suck, but a money vacuum as well. Facebook is now filled with ads and the power of suggestion – seeing people eating and wearing items that we want for ourselves – makes some people spend money.
Also, Facebook made a controversial move last year by no longer allowing users to hide their names from being visible in searches. Not everyone wants to be an "open book."
And some users get fed up with the drama.
"The bitching and fighting gets too much sometimes, especially running up to an election," says Mike Mattner, who has quit Facebook a few times.
"My longest break was for a few months." says Mattner. "I eventually returned because Facebook is a good source of breaking news and also to find out what's happening around town. I felt a little more out of touch than usual without Facebook."
Some Facebook users – like Linn Elliott – quit for a mix of reasons.
"I left because of the drama. The ‘woe is me’ and the ‘vague-booking.’ They all wore thin and I am happier without it," says Elliott.
Melissa Townsend has another opinion about Facebook that’s also common among users.
"I hear people saying all the time they are quitting Facebook or how annoyed they are by Facebook. I don’t get it. It’s Facebook. Post your pet pictures, stay in touch with your college friends and go on with real life. Geez," she says.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.