Facebookless for a month
Researchers at New York University and Stanford University convinced Facebook users to take a break from the social network for four weeks. Nearly 3,000 users accepted the challenge and completed detailed questionnaires about their daily routine, political opinion and general mood. Randomly selected users were offered financial compensation. The dollar amount of the compensation asked was of great interest to researchers too: how much is a month’s worth of access to photos, comments, Facebook groups, friends and news feeds? On average, about US$ 100, according to the study. At the end of the four weeks, the test subjects were again questioned in detail. This revealed that they had spent more time off-line with family and friends, in front of the television, etc.
In general, the subjects of the experiment felt a little happier and more content with life. Each gained 15 minutes to more than 2 hours of free time per day (the average being one hour). An interesting detail: people were less aware of political events, but were also less polarized. Facebook is an important source of information, but it tends to deepen partisanship.
⇨ The New York Times, “This Is Your Brain Off Facebook.”