Why It Is Difficult to Disengage From Facebook

Why It Is Difficult to Disengage From Facebook

Sonda Bouattour Fakhfakh (University of Tunis El-Manar, Tunisia)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch625
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Abstract

The huge popularity of social network sites like Facebook gave rise to numerous studies exploring the prerequisites and consequences of FB use. This article does not deviate from this direction. It offers a theoretic attempt to analyze the reasons of attachment to FB but through another perspective: the disengagement phenomenon. The theoretical framework is based on the Attachment Theory and the Actor Network Theory. Assuming that FB allows the satisfaction of the innate attachment need and that there is a social and technical interaction between users and the FB structure, the present analysis investigates the relations between user attachment style and FB use and between FB user and the FB platform (hardware and software). The aim here is not to reject (or not) some formulated hypothesis, but to develop a theoretical frame from the existing theories. The argument is that human/human and human/non-human attachment could explain why users find it very difficult to disengage even though they are willing to do so and suffering from being invaded by FB.
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Introduction

In many countries, social life has become heavily reliant on the use of Social Network Sites (SNS). The leader of SNS is Facebook (FB) with more than one billion monthly active users (Patterson, 2015). Founded on 2004 mainly by Mark Zuckerberg, FB was exclusively destined to the Harvard University. Later, FB began to expand to reach the entire world. The biggest demographic using the site is the 18-29 age range. The graduated adults from college are the leaders and women seem to use it more than men (Patterson, 2015).

The deeper intrusion of FB in the society and in the professional context has removed concern not to enhance connection but to break it. Many connected people begin expressing their willingness to be disengaged. They suffer from being invaded by technologies and steered to adapt their FB experience to an economic object (Van Dijck, 2013). Even though, they could not detach and continue to integrate FB into their daily lives they feel bored or busy. So, the power is already handed on those who could disconnect (Jauréguiberry, 2014). Thus, the main question that we try to give some responses to is: why it is so difficult to disengage from FB and alter its use?

We should note here that disconnection/disengagement is not the opposite of connection. It is obviously coupled with it and could not be understood without its existence. It involves the choose-nots category by distinction with the have-nots and the want-nots, who consciously choose to not engage with FB partially or totally (Jaurréguiberry, 2014). We consider disengagement as an approach of re-appropriation of FB use; a way of changing one’s practices and a situation where the relation to and with FB is at risk (Karppi, 2014). When users will be faced by the choice to be separated from FB or individuals, attachment will be highlighted. Based on the attachment theory and the Actor Network Theory (ANT), we try to underline the nature and the quality of the attachment within FB network social structure. We then attempt to study the human/human attachment and the human/non-human attachment in order to border the disengagement phenomenon. Hence, the aim here is not to reject (or not) some formulated hypothesis but to develop a theoretical frame from the existing theories.

This analysis could help users as well managers and technology designers to understand how attachments to FB could impact people emotion and behavior. It answers to the serious preoccupation of the professional context about the permanent connection of their employees to FB and information technologies in general. This analysis could also help companies willing to implement disengagement measures to apprehend this choice from a relational perspective in order to get the implication of all users.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Human and Non-Human Attachment: It is a relationship between human and material generated from the ANT. These two actors are considered to have an equal status until they enter into association within the network.

Attachment Theory: It presents different styles of attachment that have been built in the childhood period and transmitted to the adulthood. These styles can explain some aspects of the attachment to Facebook and the consequences of disengagement perceived as a separation from caregiver’s figure.

Disengagement: It is a way of changing one’s practices of connection and an approach of re- appropriation of technology/FB use.

Social Network Sites (SNS): They are sites that provide possibility to interact with others but which may impact the interpersonal relationships, the human well-being and behavior.

Facebook: It is a SNS which allows a variety of free ways of communication for multiple users and use but with an asymmetry exchange of information and a manipulation of users’ cognition, emotion and behavior.

Anxiously Attached Person: It refers to the degree of concern exhibited by a person over others’ evaluation and approval. It is manifested by an excessive need for attention and reassurance.

Actor Network Theory (ANT): It is an approach that treats an object as a social construct and assumes that it can act as the human in a network.

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