"Who Commits Virtual Identity Suicide?" -
Explorative psychological study at the University of Vienna
Stefan Stieger and colleagues published the results of an exploratory study in the specialist magazine "Cyberpsychology, Behavior, And Social Networking" under the title "Who Commits Virtual Identity Suicide?" (Volume 16, Number 9, 2013).
The researchers tried to shed some light on the phenomenon of "virtual identity suicide" or "Web 2.0 suicide". - There is now a movement of organized Facebook exit: Assisted by “Suicide machines like www.suicidaschine.org and www.seppukoo.com can social media users separate from their accounts. Facebook users who want a life without “likes” are helped at www.quidfacebookday.com.
Not much came of this study - the results are not significant. The samples used are far too small for this - 310 Facebook quitters and 312 inveterate Facebook users - Number of Facebook users worldwide: 500.000.000 users.
Although this small sample size is only a mini-exploration, seven fixed characteristics were used right from the start. Instead of first probing the Facebook field using in-depth interviews or other methods in order to empirically determine the possibly relevant mechanisms for the following study. A theoretical preparatory work was also not carried out in order to place the exploration in the context of empirical knowledge of the psychological processes in the context of social interactions that had already been determined.
In terms of methodology, an individualistic psychological perspective was used. This did not take into account which relationship factors may play a role if individuals terminate their Facebook affiliation. - Examining reactions in social networks without taking social factors into account cannot lead to in-depth results.
What - despite all these restrictions - came out?
Facebook quitters seem to value privacy and are more "conscientious" than "loyal" Facebook fans. In addition, the Facebook refugees seem to be critically observing the tendencies of “internet addiction” that they are trying to escape through Facebook suicide (“kill yourself to live”). In other words: They feel that the time investment on Facebook is too high and consider it an annoying waste of time. The majority of the Quitters were male ...
This summarizes the main results of the exploration.
If you want to take a look yourself, you can download the study here: