What I learned from taking part in a study about Facebook

What I learned from taking part in a study about Facebook


I don’t like talking about myself very much IRL, but in the name of research? Sure.

The other day I took part in a study about Facebook usage by young women (for a Master’s project) – here’s what I came away thinking.

I don’t post very often

At least half of the posts on my page are by other people (mostly one of my best friends who is a power user, posting links multiple times a day). There’s a surprising proportion of posts and pictures from outings with people from work. I’m definitely closer to my workmates here than places I’ve worked before, plus there’ve been a few different work trips away.

Personally, I’ve only posted a few photos/photo albums, interesting links, asked a couple of questions and fed through a couple of Goodreads reviews. The past year in particular has been pretty quiet. I didn’t have much to share and just generally stepped back from socialising IRL and Facebook browsing. Avoiding other people across channels was a coping mechanism – their happy and successful lives only made me feel worse about mine.

And yet … it’s difficult to imagine life without Facebook

One question posed to me was: how do you think we would communicate today if Facebook wasn’t around? I couldn’t come up with a good answer – I really struggled to imagine.

It’s so pervasive – I take private messages, photos, events and more for granted. It’s the easiest way to share news enmasse, make announcements, communicate with people overseas (so glad my friends who once deleted their accounts are back on, especially now they live abroad). It’s how we organised our recent Tongariro Crossing trip. Cutting Facebook out and relying on phone and email (because none of my closest IRL/local friends use Twitter) would be nothing short of crippling.

What about life before Facebook?

Facebook for me basically coincided with university – that’s when I graduated from Bebo to Facebook. Life pre-uni isn’t really reflected at all.

Two of my very first friends ever (as in from the Kuala Lumpur days) found and added me, sure. But so many of my friends from my school years, I’m not connected to. Friends from my first primary school and friends from my intermediate school. My one-time best friend and technically first boyfriend. The random guy I once befriended at my call centre job who I think would have been a really awesome mate (that said, he had a crush on me so not sure we could have actually been friends). Various penpals and email pals from the early 2000s, even. All people I think about from time to time.

6 thoughts on “What I learned from taking part in a study about Facebook

  • Reply Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank May 18, 2015 at 23:13

    Living a life without Facebook is really something I can deal with, not that I hate Facebook. But, sometimes, it’s better to experience what it was like before when there are no Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. For experience sake.

  • Reply Shannyn @ Frugal Beautiful May 20, 2015 at 00:28

    It is really strange to think about what life would be like without Facebook, or any social media, really. We’re all so connected now, it’s hard to remember what it was like before that!

  • Reply middle class May 20, 2015 at 08:35

    Part of me wishes Facebook was around during my college years. There are several people that I might have kept in touch with if there had been an easier way to do it.

    However, part of me is very glad that I grew up without social media at all. There are a million stupid or embarrassing things that could have been captured forever. I also hate to see bad photos of myself on other people’s accounts.

  • Reply Manda | musicalpoem May 20, 2015 at 12:55

    Without Facebook, I wouldn’t have gone to Chile and Argentina last year. I’ve been friends with my Aussie bestie on Facebook for years, keeping in touch on and off (mainly around birthdays). Out of the blue, she sent me a message inviting me to visit her — and off I went. Never would’ve happened without FB!

  • Reply Tonya@Budget and the Beach May 20, 2015 at 13:13

    Well I lived most of my adult life without Facebook and although it’s impossible to imagine a world where it doesn’t exist now, somehow we got by! I think we just emailed more. Before email it was a huge pain…we actually had to CALL people and there was certainly no such thing as texting. The world is changing…gotta keep up or get left out. It’s actually hard talking to my mom on the phone because she doesn’t want a computer, so I can’t share things with her like I can other people. It’s a pain in the ass. I even offered to buy her one!

  • Reply Abigail @ipickuppennies May 22, 2015 at 08:58

    I mainly only post to my blog’s FB page. I’ll check my regular account sometimes, but I don’t leave a ton of comments. As for my main account, plenty of people from high school have added me. But most of them I only knew as acquaintances. It’s just weird.

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