Facebook Fatigue is Real, Recent Studies Say
Social Media Study Says We're Burned Out
GlobalWebIndex and the Pew Research Center recently put out studies that show “Facebook Fatigue” is real. Fewer new members are joining Facebook. Those who are already there are taking vacations from the site and moving to other social media.
Membership Growth is Slowing in Developed World
Globalwebindex tracked about 130,000 internet users for the last three years. They found that while social media usage overall is rising, Facebook has saturated the social media market in the developed world. Remaining growth markets for FB are in the developing world and the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries.
People in the survey of internet users who already have FB accounts are using them less often. They are using key money-making features less often as well. Game playing is down. Messaging is down 15% over the last year. Users are also developing 'ad blindness,' so click-through-rates on FB are down significantly compared to other services.
Small businesses are also experiencing social media fatigue, at least as far as Facebook is concerned. A small business owner in Colorado Springs, Colo asked on her FB feed “Do you feel that FB helps with your business? Why or why not?” The answers she received in the comments included “waste of time when I could have been out networking face to face” and “its an added extra but never should be relied upon.”
The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that 27 percent of current FB users expect to spend less time on FB in the next year. Only 3 percent say they will use it more.
Why are Users Cutting Back on Social Media?
Some of the specific responses in the Pew Study included “too busy,” “it was a waste of time,” “too much drama,” “got bored of it,” “I preferred real-life interactions,” and even “gave it up for lent.” However, since overall social media usage is up in both of these studies, most of these users are not going off-line entirely. They are moving to Twitter or Pinterest.
Taking a Vacation from Facebook
The Pew Study revealed that 61 percent of FB users in the U.S. have taken a 'break' or 'vacation' from Facebook for several weeks or longer. Security and privacy are surprisingly rare reasons for these hiatuses. Only 4 percent of those who left say they did so for privacy or security reasons.
Sixty-nine percent of online adults use some kind of social networking site, and half of those will access a social site at least once a day. The Globalwebindex study discovered Twitter is now the fastest growing social site.
Impact of Social Networking Fatigue on the Sites
Slower growth of new memberships in the richer nations means slower growth of advertising revenues for a site. Less interaction by users, such as less gaming and less searching for companies, groups and other users means less opportunities for companies to provide contact.
IPO valuations of these sites' companies relied on continuous exponential growth in user numbers and interactions with potential advertising / monetization opportunities. If both of these plateau or even decline, then Facebook may go the way of MySpace and AOL.
Are you taking a break from Facebook or the other sites? Have you tried to quit cold turkey? I'd be very interested in hearing about some of the reasons and ways people have cut the ties with Facebook. Please let me know in the comments!