Facebook and Twitter users who went ‘cold turkey’ on their social media habits evidenced withdrawal symptoms more commonly associated with drug addicts, according to a group of academics studying the phenomenon on behalf of First Direct.
Researchers at the University of Winchester studying the addictiveness of social media invited a group of self-confessed Facebook and Twitter ‘addicts’ to forego the habit for a full four weeks, an experience many subjects reported as being akin to feeling ‘cut off from the world’.
One volunteer observed of the experience: “I’ve felt alone and cut off from the world. My fingers seem to be programmed to seek out the Facebook app every time I pick up my phone.”
Not all side effects were negative however with one participant reporting that they were able to devote more time to their household chores as a result of the ban, whilst another stated that she subsequently spent more time with her daughter.
On the flipside however those with dormant accounts were found to benefit from picking up the habit, with many of those forced to log into social media sites by the research team reporting that the experience was enjoyable.
Study leader Dr David Giles, said: “Some people would argue this addiction to social media is eating away at people’s lives, but what most of these so-called addicts are doing online is profoundly social.
“The average internet user today is not the bedroom hermit of the 1990s but a savvy individual with a smartphone who openly manages his or her entire social life and personal relationships online.”