A crippling blow to Facebook?

Are users beginning to spend less time on the social network?

By 247 Wall St. Feb 6, 2013 12:28PM

Man in suit checking watch Daniel Sheehan Photographers Digital Vision Getty ImagesBy Douglas A. McIntyre


One of the strengths of Facebook (FB), perhaps second to its 1 billion users, is the amount of time people spend on the social network. That length of time has been lauded as one of the reasons advertisers should use the site to market products and images.


But a new study from Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that people have begun to take very long breaks from their use of the world's largest social network. That, in turn, could hurt Facebook's appeal to marketers and erode its sales and precious revenue growth.


Pew reports:


61% of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more.
20% of the online adults who do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do so.
8% of online adults who do not currently use Facebook are interested in becoming Facebook users in the future.

Pew points out that 67% of American adults use Facebook, which makes the problem all the more extreme.


The reasons many people have begun to use Facebook less are all very bad for the company. Pew points out:


The largest group (21%) said that their "Facebook vacation" was a result of being too busy with other demands or not having time to spend on the site. Others pointed toward a general lack of interest in the site itself (10% mentioned this in one way or another), an absence of compelling content (10%), excessive gossip or "drama" from their friends (9%), or concerns that they were spending too much time on the site and needed to take a break (8%).

The worst of these is "an absence of compelling content." Facebook has never been able to solve the puzzle of how to get more outside content into the experience of its users. That leaves these people with little more than their relationships with friends. Even in the real world, friends become tedious from time to time.


The other problem Facebook clearly faces is that of Internet clutter. Most people are willing to spend only so much time online. They have commutes to make, food to prepare, sleep to get, and spouses, children and friends to deal with in the real world. Facebook competes for online time with a galaxy of news and information, entertainment, e-commerce and other social communications destinations, such as Twitter. The decision about how people use this Internet time has begun to move against Facebook, if the Pew survey is even close to being accurate.


Facebook's appeal is hardly over, but it may be in a period of erosion that it cannot realistically prevent.


Pew methodology: The PSRAI December 2012 Omnibus Week 2 obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,006 adults living in the continental United States.


More from 24/7 Wall St.


I personally am not  and dare say never will become a facebook person.  I believe that  the privacy level is compromised greatly.  As an example, i am not a facebook user but a co-worker of mine is, she said to me  " you have to see this photo of my neighbor, she is so obese" now, this "friend" entrusted my co-worker to have complete access to their facebook page. My co worker shared the photo without the person knowing it.  Many others saw the photo and remarked, i thought it was cruel.  Also, through the grapevine of facebook party photos are shared without the guests of the party's permission. This can lead to big trouble had the guest wanted the party that they attended not  to become public knowledge.

I believe there are so many ways to stay in touch with people today that Facebook is really a danger and infringes on others right to privacy.  Its a small world out there and having peoples lives as an open book on this  Social media  can be detrimental to peoples privacy.. ..  

Feb 6, 2013 2:36PM

Never on it, never going to be on it, never wanted to be on it !



Feb 6, 2013 1:13PM
Bubbles, burst, fads come and go, and the world keeps on ticking without a hiccup.
Feb 6, 2013 2:22PM
Nothing would please me more than to see face book disappear, I think it is dangerous, there is absolutely  no privacy. people put statement out there that will come back in time and bite them in the backside. others post inane or obscene photographs on their page.  It is as bad as some JERK driving and using a telephone or walking around in a store while using one and bumping in to others. So to sum up my tirade, I don't give a damn what happens to face book.
Facebook's ever-changing rules and regs make navigating the site a nightmare.  Not everyone has a device at their fingertips, and must wait to get home to catch up on the events of their friends.  It was much better several years ago; wish it would go back to that.
Feb 6, 2013 3:28PM
Like any fad, facebook will come and go. But, one difference, facebook has all that personel info., of the fools that used it.
Feb 6, 2013 3:07PM
I am not on Facebook and have no intention of being on it. Communicating really important information to friends , family, and for business purposes is easily done by regular email. From what I understand, a lot of what Facebook, Twitter, etc. are used for is a frivolous waste of time, and there are security/privacy issues as well.
Feb 6, 2013 2:14PM
I use facebook to comment on articles.  Other than that I don't EVER look on facebook. I don't post what I'm dong and I certainly don't care about what you are doing.
Do you think it MIGHT have something to do with their constant LIES and invasions of privacy ?
Feb 6, 2013 3:08PM
Useless site, unless your looking to get elected for team mascot...
It amuses me that TV stations and reputable companies find any need to have more than a link on this site.

Now that they have $ from folks who decided to buy into this or advertise they may be able to buy tech that has some reasonable appeal.

If I know someone I can text email or hey even call them. I don't need to place any content on this unsafe site.

Even my kids think the games s.ck. I'm happy about that as the cost to use them was a joke.

Feb 6, 2013 3:56PM
I avoid Douchebook 100% of the time....get off douchebook and get a life
Feb 6, 2013 2:53PM
I just don't have alot to talk about. Facebook keeps changing their policies and heck, alot us could use the time that it takes us logging in doing other things that are more important like work, or visiting in the old fashion way. Sure you meet people you would never have known, but many people are neglecting their friends that are there in our home towns. I met most of my friends through MSN Questions and Answers. I still have a household to run and a yard to maintain, a dog to feed and sometimes people get hungry for real food. You know that food that you cook in your own home. I think people do have other things to do. There are people who stay on Facebook constantly and there are people who get on there to be nosey. What would happen if people gave up Facebook and their cellphones for one stinky month? Nothing! The world would be just going along as usual. I rather advertisers get their own facebook page. Most of the items that I see on the net as far as advertisement is not something that I would buy, nor if I go to a site, does not mean that I want that site flashing up every time I log on. What did you not get?
I though sit-on-my-facebook was for Jr. High/High school kids.  No self respecting adult would be caught alive on that site.
Feb 6, 2013 4:31PM
Facebook is stupid, i hear and see all the busy gossiping kooks i need when i drop my kids off at school. Facebook users, get a life! 
Feb 6, 2013 3:24PM
Less time? How about no time. In two years they are gone along with the turd that runs it.
Feb 6, 2013 4:00PM
Biggest upside of Facebook is keeping in touch or finding long lost friends and schoolmates. Posting pictures of what you had for lunch and pictures of the neighborhood pets - meh....
Feb 6, 2013 3:39PM
One thing that turns me off to facebook is the excessive posting of religeous sayings quips, pictures and also positive message sayings posters what have you, the old I saw this and thought it was cute, then posting several other thought this was cute quips one after the other. I say get a grip, get a life, if you are down get help, talk to somebody. Do something other than cluttering up my page please!!!!
Feb 6, 2013 3:12PM

I'm one of those people who take looooooong breaks from FB.  I find Twitter so much better in terms of interacting with all sorts of different people.  You don't have to hunt people down and "request" to be a friend, etc...

Plus, I agree with Johnny B....FB allows toooo much of your info to be shared.  If one "friend" can see you then everyone they know can also see your account via that "friend". 

I also changed the name on my FB account so my employer couldn't find me.  I find that trend increasingly invasive too.


Feb 6, 2013 5:01PM

Somebody properly proclaimed Facebook as 'Bragbook'...which is really what it is...

Feb 6, 2013 4:30PM

"Facebook's appeal is hardly over . . .."


You sure about that? The entire "social media" bubble may be on the wane. The upside, once seen as top-outta-sight, is increasingly found to be little more than lame chit-chat. And it takes a solid economy to foster lame chit-chat. This economy is closer to some new and disappointing normal . . . social media was founded in a Time of Bubbles.

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