A crippling blow to Facebook?
Are users beginning to spend less time on the social network?
By 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.
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.
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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.. ..
Never on it, never going to be on it, never wanted to be on it !
I'LL CONTINUE TO DO MY SOCIAL NETWORKING FACE TO FACE !!
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.
Somebody properly proclaimed Facebook as 'Bragbook'...which is really what it is...
"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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