18 September 2007

Facebook suicide: the end of a virtual life

Be the first to share

Facebook
The Times, a UK newspaper, has a very long article on why some users of the very popular online networking site Facebook end up killing their online profile.

I may want to add that the article focuses very strongly on a highly personal use of Facebook, and doesn’t touch upon the professional social networking system is now increasingly facilitating. I also have a Facebook profile, which I use for professional reasons only, but I have to admit that I am still not entirely convinced of its value.

“Started in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, a student at Harvard, Facebook is now the 13th most used search engine in the world, with two million members in the UK and 150,000 new people signing up every day. Eclipsing Friends Reunited in popularity and media buzz, barely a day goes by without a story in the press about the site (see panel facing page), from privacy concerns over its plans to make profiles accessible through search engines such as Google, to reports that more than 70 per cent of British businesses have moved to restrict or ban Facebook, including British Gas and Lloyds TSB.

Considered more popular with slightly older and more middle-class users than other networking sites, such as MySpace and Bebo, it has recently made the transition from niche concept to something with mass appeal. So why are people deciding to put a virtual noose around their online necks?”

In the article The Times provides a number of answers:

It’s easy to be misinterpreted: There are a limited set of cues available on sites like this. You don’t get the subtleties of voice tone, facial expressions or body language you usually have when interacting with others and that can make interpreting the meaning of messages difficult. You can write something flippantly, which others take seriously, or come across as aggressive when that’s not your intention at all.

Online profiles are not very significant: Building a Facebook profile is one way that individuals can identify themselves, making them feel important and accepted. But this can lead to disappointment once people realise how insignificant their online existence really is. Not only are online friends not necessarily real friends, they can turn out to be people you don’t wish to know at all.

“I’d rather spend time with people in person”: Generally people have just a handful of really close friends. If you feel the need to get in touch with someone from the past, you have to ask yourself why you do. It could be indicative of a problem or unhappiness in your current self and, therefore, a desire to reconnect with a younger one. But once people realise this is not a solution, they’ll leave and try to solve them another way.

Getting a real life: Other users say they’ve ended their lives in the virtual world for far more prosaic reasons – so that they can resume life in the real one.

When things get personal, you’re vulnerable: The fact that you can’t see or hear other people makes it easier to reveal yourself in a way you might not be comfortable with.

The article ends with a beginner’s guide to using Facebook.

Read full story

Be the first to share
1 May 2016
Report: User Experience and Usability in Complex Systems
User Experience and Usability in Complex Systems Final Report 1/2015 FIMECC (Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster) November 2015, 225 pages Five years ago, some of Finland’s metals and engineering industry companies were looking for new ways to tackle …
30 April 2016
Security versus UX
Gwendolyn Betts explores how to reconcile one of the biggest challenges in interface design: security versus user experience. Betts writes that it is not uncommon for security measures to be tacked on at the end as …
8 April 2016
On the need for ethnography in user experience design
Michael Thomas of Ford Motor Company argues in a thoughtful personal piece that User Experience design is greatly enhanced by establishing classical ethnographic methods as foundational for defining the domain of design intervention. How can UX …
2 April 2016
Special Issue: Digitised Health, Medicine and Risk
Health Risk & Society is a new international scholarly journal devoted to a theoretical and empirical understanding of the social processes which influence the ways in which risks are taken, communicated, assessed and managed in …
1 April 2016
Two appealing books by designer Robert Curedale
This morning we received two books by designer Robert Curedale (who seems to be an extremely productive writer): ​Comprehensive step-by-step Guide to Experience Maps Journey Maps - Blueprints - Empathy Maps Design Community College Inc. March 2016 400 pages Customers choose …
1 April 2016
Should financial advisors nudge their clients?
Should advisors nudge clients to make prudent saving and spending decisions, asks Morey Stettner in Investor's Business Daily. Or should they step aside after educating clients and laying out the options? Some economists argue that nudging …
30 March 2016
Six more UX-related articles on PMLive
PMLiVE continues to inform us about UX approaches and developments in the pharmaceutical industry (older series of articles here): Why health psychology should inform pharma strategyv Ella Nuttall - 30 March 2016 We asked Ella to explain why …
21 March 2016
Ford’s quest to remake itself into a master of UX
Ford, bastion of the old-school American economy, is now trying to recast itself as a company built around user experience. It’s finally trying to see its cars through the customer’s eyes. It's designing for them. Ford …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

1 March 2016
Singapore’s main newspaper on Experientia’s design with the elderly

Arti Mulchand reports in the Straits Times, Singapore’s main newspaper, on Experientia’s “Design for Ageing Gracefully” project: Putting faces to end-users early in the design process is changing the way designers and organisations are approaching products aimed at Singapore’s growing elderly demographic. Experientia’s ethnographic study, which was commissioned by DesignSingapore Council in a collaboration with […]

18 January 2016
Experientia website completely reshaped

Experientia is pleased to announce that we’ve started 2016 with a brand new website. Experientia’s now officially 10 years old, and we decided that the best way to celebrate is by building a new website that showcases our growth – with new projects, new people in the staff, and two new locations in Lausanne and […]

1 January 2016
For when things get personal…
13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

See all articles