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Early adopters getting bored of social networking

by Scott Bicheno on 15 August 2011, 10:47

Tags: Gartner (NYSE:IT), Facebook

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A new survey from market researcher Gartner reveals that aspirational, ‘early-adopter' types are developing ‘social media fatigue' and are using sites like Facebook less often than they used to.

Overall social networking use is still on the rise, but among certain proportions of the market it has reached maturity and the novelty is wearing off. The Gartner survey covered 6,295 respondents, between the ages of 13 and 74, in 11 countries at the turn of the year.

"Overall, our survey underlined respondents' continued enthusiasm for social media," said Charlotte Patrick, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Teenagers and those in their twenties were significantly more likely to say that they had increased their usage, while at the other end of the ‘enthusiasm spectrum', the age-related differences were much less marked, with fairly consistent percentages saying that they were using social media less."

"The trend shows some social media fatigue among early adopters, and the fact that 31 percent of Aspirers [younger, more mobile, brand-conscious consumers] indicated that they were getting bored with their social network is a situation that social media providers should monitor, as they will need to innovate and diversify to keep consumer attention," said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

A quarter of all respondents said they were using social networking less. The number one reason given for doing so was privacy, with older users more concerned than younger ones about this. Brazil and Russia were the two countries in the survey that experienced the greatest decline in use.

This trend could also be a product of people becoming more tech-savvy in general. Social networking sites offer a great hub for sharing and interacting with your friends and families, but there are hundreds of other ways to do this. The increasing encroachment into Facebook of brands and corporations could also be a turn-off.


HEXUS Forums :: 14 Comments

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I think it is spelt Brazil.

I have started removing more and more information from the social networking sites i use due to difficulty in privacy issues. Google has done well (IMO) in simplifying privacy for the general user.
I honestly don't think i have used them any less though.
FB is so 2005.
I can proudly say I haven't decreased my usage of social networking sites, even for privacy reasons. ;)

The increasing encroachment into Facebook of brands and corporations could also be a turn-off.
No kidding. ;)

Personally, I'd have said that such encroachment was utterly inevitable, and clearly, monetisation of any commercially-motivated website is both predictable and inevitable, if for no other reason than that funding a large site is a very expensive proposition. Sooner or later, you need to cover costs, and make a profit.

But a good question is to what point you can encroach without destroying the ethos that got people to join in the first place. The danger is that if you start to disenchant or alienate users and they start drifting away, it's easy for the damage to be terminal before you see the overt effects on membership and activity levels. If you're not careful, it can be like catching an Ebola virus …. by the time you notice overt symptoms, the patient is thoroughly infected, and nearly always is doomed.
is this going to be another information security flame wars to facebook?

honestly does a usual person care in regards to data security? other than your name and age what other info can they get?
I don't think they do, no. Tech-savvy internet users seem to be far more conscious of their data than the average person, although I can see that's a massive generalisation.

If people leave Facebook it will be for the other reasons mentioned, getting tired with the complexity and sheer weight of crap. If it was once about keeping in touch with friends, then by the time you're being spammed by 14 different corporations, rejecting invites to another social game every third second, and being informed that you need to take part in eleven surveys to assess what kind of pasta you would be, it's not surprising that people may begin to wonder why they're registered at all.