June 11, 2012
by Mark Ollig
Are you spending less time on Facebook?
Although I log onto Facebook most days to check for any messages from friends and family, I am finding myself spending less time using it.
When I began using Facebook, every time I came across what I thought was an interesting story, song, picture, or video, I would end up posting it to my Facebook page.
And, yes, I would be curious on how many “likes” and “shares” it would generate.
As all of my Facebook friends know, I posted a lot of content.
Today, those of us spending less time on Facebook are not alone, as recent polling data indicates.
Could it be some of us are suffering from . . . Facebook Fatigue?
There is mounting evidence for this as a recent polling of Facebook users showed 34 percent labeling Facebook as “not useful,” “not relevant,” or “boring.”
This new poll was conducted May 31 through June 4 by Reuters, and research marketing firm Ipsos.
The poll received replies from 1,032 people in the US, of which 21 percent responded by saying they were not a Facebook user.
Of the 79 percent who were users of Facebook, 50 percent said they spend about the same amount of time on Facebook, while 20 percent said they are spending more time using the online social network.
Of those surveyed, 35 percent said they are using Facebook much less today than they did previously.
Users who responded saying they used Facebook on a daily basis was 40 percent.
The 18 to 34-year-olds have been found to be the most active participants on Facebook, as they account for 60 percent of its daily users.
The least-active users are the folks 55 years of age and older. The daily Facebook usage among this age group is 29 percent.
Of the Facebook users surveyed, 80 percent replied saying they never have made a purchase of a product or service because of an online advertising link or comment made about an advertisement on Facebook.
“Comments and recommendations from friends on Facebook do carry a lot of weight, so I’m surprised by the number,” Gartner analyst Ray Valdes said to Reuters.
This particular survey result must be a concern to Facebook, especially in light of their recent public stock issuance.
Reuters also reported Facebook online advertising sales growth as “slowing.”
“Keeping users coming back is crucial for all social media services,” Reuters reported Valdes as saying.
Facebook generated $3.7 billion from mostly online advertising sales during 2011 among its 900 million users. By comparison, Google earned about $38 billion from its online advertisement revenues.
Google’s online social media network called Google+ (pronounced Google Plus), currently has about 170 million total users.
More people are using the Facebook mobile app on their smartphones, which means limited screen space available for revenue-generating advertisements – this could also be a concern for Facebook and the new shareholders of its stock.
A few weeks ago, Facebook opened public trading of its stock at $38.
As I wrote this column last Tuesday evening, Facebook’s stock had closed for the day at $25.87.
Of those surveyed by Reuters/Ipsos, 44 percent said the troubled Initial Public Offering (IPO) of its stock has left them feeling “less favorable towards Facebook.”
In fact, the disappointing Facebook IPO has made 46 percent of the survey respondents less favorable towards investing in the stock market altogether.
The other popular social media network, Twitter, with roughly 500 million users (a reported 140 million active), has yet to go public with its stock via an IPO.
Facebook needs to come up with some fresh, new, user-appealing features.
Their newest feature, called Timeline, is not at all popular with many Facebook users . . . including me.
In my opinion, the distinctiveness and content presentation of Facebook’s current online platform is beginning to wane with its longtime users. It is becoming somewhat mediocre and over-populated, with too many advertisements and “sneaky” invites from multiple online web marketing sites who want to gain access to our information, content, and list of friends.
For now, however, I will continue to log onto Facebook each day to check the latest content uploaded by family and friends, and to post the content and comments I want to share.
And, of course, I will keep on uploading every new Bits & Bytes column to my Facebook page and to my online blog at http://bitscolumn.blogspot.com.
Facebook could eventually end up going the way of MySpace and Yahoo, unless Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes some major platform enhancements and incorporates genuine user-desirable features.
Mr. Zuckerberg, those of us actively using your social media network are patiently waiting to see which direction Facebook will be taking.