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Facebook fatigue

noun [uncountable]

loss of interest and lack of participation in the Facebook® social networking website, especially by someone who used to use it regularly

'The decline, a first for the Facebook-crazed British, was pounced on by critics who gleefully warned that Facebook fatigue had finally arrived … There's even a Facebook fatigue group on Facebook that encourages people to log off permanently. (Ironically, the group has still managed to attract 36 members.)'

Toronto Star 7th March 2008

Are you getting bored with poking, pimping, sending virtual hugs and watering your (Lil) Green Patch? If so, then perhaps you could be suffering from a newly recognized malaise called … Well, if you've been a regular reader of BuzzWord in recent weeks, and know a thing or two about word formation, you might be able to guess. What might you get if you blend Facebook and password fatigue? The answer is of course: Facebook fatigue.

Facebook® is currently one of the world's most popular websites. In the United Kingdom, it boasts about 8.5 million users, which represents roughly one in every six UK residents. People all over the world have become increasingly captivated by its potential to give them an online identity and access to minute-by-minute updates on friends' daily activities.

in addition to privacy concerns, other causes of Facebook fatigue include the irritating implications of various add-ons

But now it seems there's evidence to suggest that a growing number of users, at one time avid members of the Facebook community, are becoming jaded. Such users are curtailing or terminating their involvement because they are just plain fed up with it. In other words, they're suffering from Facebook fatigue.

There are a variety of causes of Facebook fatigue. Primarily, just the sheer effort of maintaining a profile and the resulting information overload, both in dealing with your own page and responding to that of others, can be overwhelming. As well as the pressure to pimp your profile (make it more attractive), users are regularly bombarded with requests to donate a grain of rice, send good karma and rate their friends on everything from 'hotness' to intelligence.

In addition to privacy concerns, other causes of Facebook fatigue include the irritating implications of various add-ons, which, in order to make them function most effectively, often require people to invite friends to participate. This results in what is now often referred to as friend spam, unwanted messages sent by Facebook friends asking you to try out new services.

Evidence suggests that age has an impact on the most likely sufferers of Facebook fatigue. It seems that those of us over 40 are most at risk of deciding that it's just too time-consuming, whereas users between the ages of 12 and 34 are more likely to see involvement as essential in order to 'stay in the loop'.

Background – Facebook fatigue

The expression Facebook fatigue first appeared in early 2008, when Internet market research company comScore Inc reported a decrease in both the number of users and the average time spent on social networking sites. The slide was evident for all of the top three websites, i.e. Bebo, MySpace and Facebook®.

In related contexts, there are a number of new expressions which refer to the idea of making a deliberate decision to become inaccessible in electronic or computer-related terms. Examples include unplugging, and going off-network.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 23rd April 2008.

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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