Losing interest in Facebook

2 August 2010 at 9:55 am 4 comments

Andy Stubbings writes:

“If you want to know how people will use technology tomorrow” a popular saying goes, “look at what young people are doing today”.

To add to the bubbling anti-Facebook resentment that we have discussed here before, we’re seeing growing signs of disenchantment and dipping enthusiasm for Facebook amongst younger people. One survey of teens by gaming site Roiworld shows one in five are using Facebook less; the main reason for this is ‘lack of interest’. After the buzz around ‘defriending’, there seems to be more interest on ‘deactivating’ or leaving the site – apparently quite an exhilarating experience, at least according to this account of a ‘post-college calibration’. And there are earlier discussions of why young people leave social networks – there’s too much drama, it’s not their space anymore, and people prefer face to face interaction where possible.

Curiously, this also tallies with a general trend that we have picked up with our Global Monitor survey this year – when asked, people in almost every country overwhelmingly expressed a preference for a small number of quality connections they can rely on rather than a large quantity of connections they can call on (levels of agreement are practically the same across all age groups as well – which you might not necessarily expect from those gregarious Millennials). Facebook’s business model is built on the opposite assumption – that people want to continually add as many contacts as possible (and then lump them all together in the same group as their ‘friends’).

There has been attention given to the fact that the average age of Facebook users is increasing, often arguing that this is a sign that the site is broadening its appeal by going mainstream. However, I’d suggest, tentatively for the moment, that a fall in engagement amongst younger people – and in this context the leading edge – represents a decline that will eventually ripple out to a mainstream made up by mainly by over-30s, a decline that will accelerate as soon as a genuine alternative to Facebook emerges.

Facebook isn’t growing up; it’s growing old.

The image is from the site of the web designer Sharath G, and is used with thanks.

Entry filed under: digital, media, technology. Tags: , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • […] Amazing what this networking turns up…. I had a look at their blog this afternoon – and there’s an excellent post (supported by their research) on people losing interest in Facebook. Here’s a paragraph from the post that makes a very interesting […]

    Reply
  • 2. Phil O'Brien  |  13 September 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Very interesting post. I’m intrigued by the trend from your Global Monitor showing the move towards a small number of quality connections. My hunch is that developing your Personal Network Value is similar to growing a business. In commerce, we’ve all met (and occasionally been) the busy fools who chase Turnover (Revenue) & Activity – with no eye on Profit (Income) & Value. It seems to me that currently Social Networking is mostly about the race to get more contacts – but I believe this will soon be replaced by a more mature view of developing a small, quality network to help personal growth and value.

    Reply
  • 3. Snehal D  |  25 November 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I agree with waht Andy is saying as I’m facebook user myself.
    I was a huge fan for a while but now I have started loosing interest.

    Serously,
    Facebook isn’t growing up; it’s growing old.

    Reply
  • 4. Snehal D  |  25 November 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I agree with what Andy is saying here. As I’m facebook user myself and was a huge fan for a while but now I have started loosing interest.

    Serously,
    Facebook isn’t growing up; it’s growing old.

    Reply

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The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.


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