Reasons for Facebook Addiction
As explained in a previous article in this series, Facebook Addiction is not a recognized clinical disorder. Hundreds of millions of people use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family, plan events, receive news, and play games.
For most, Facebook is a useful and enjoyable way of interacting with others online. However, some users claim to be addicted or obsessed with Facebook and have difficulty logging off even after they have been on for hours.
1) Minimal Effort Catch-Up
The format of Facebook allows users to catch up with friends and family with, let's face it, minimal effort. Posts are usually quite short (both to make and to read). One quick status update that goes out to all your friends, a short comment on a picture, or a quick "like" and you are done. Relationships that previously would have naturally died can be kept alive (sometimes on life support) on Facebook.
2) Lets Us Share Information With Many People Simultaneously
Related to the above point, Facebook allows users to share personal information with others more efficiently and with potentially better "net etiquette" than other forms of online communication. For example, rather than spam the email inbox of everyone you know with vacation pictures, the same photos can be posted on Facebook for friends to view if they choose to.
3) Appeals To The Info Junkie In All Of Us
As humans, we have an inborn and insatiable desire for knowledge and information - an infinite curiosity about the world around us. From the day we are born until the day we die, we are constantly looking for and acquiring new information. Facebook Addiction is partially driven by this never-ending desire for more information. Of course, this reasoning also applies to the appeal of the internet in general, but Facebook goes one step further by presenting personally relevant information in an easy to access central portal (i.e., your Facebook homepage). Friends, events, music, games, news, weather, politics, science, work, career...whatever you are interested in is right there waiting for you.
4) Feeds Our Naturally Voyeuristic Natures
In addition to our need for information about the world, an even stronger human desire is the need for information about other people. Humans are undeniably social animals and are natural voyeurs - not in the sexual sense (although this does happen), but in that we are extremely curious about what others are doing and saying. Facebook has made information about others public that would typically be kept private. In a sense, this allows friends to "spy" on friends and to gain information that they would otherwise not be privy to. Have you ever found yourself snooping around (sometimes referred to as "Facebook Stalking") on a friend's page to see what they were doing on a particular day, who they were with, who said what about him or her, or who they are friends with? Yes, I thought so. The feeding of our innate voyeurism is yet another explanation for Facebook Addiction.