No Such Thing As Social Networking Fatigue

FacebookFor the past few weeks, I’ve been growing more and more nostalgic for the Myspace era (2005-early 2007). During that haloed time, friends and I would gladly spend 10+ hours each week on Myspace. Commenting. Embedding new YouTube videos. Researching (ahem, or stalking) potential love interests. I remember the feeling of waking up from a Myspace binge, unaware of the hours that had crept by while gleefully hopping from profile to profile.

For a huge swath of the population, Myspace is still the central hub of their social media activity. But for me and my immediate community of friends and colleagues, our Myspace days are behind us–whether we like it or not. We’ve all migrated to Facebook. We’ve dutifully joined our office networks and updated our statuses. I’ve even “friended” the president of my organization. But I sense something on the horizon. It’s the impending sense of social networking doom, and it’s called…

BOREDOM.

yawnThe latest numbers from comScore indicate that social networks are witnessing a dramatic downshift in user engagement. Some folks think the allure of the online network is wearing off. The novelty of having a profile and connecting with others online is so 2006. But the social networking slowdown can be attributed to an increasingly sophisticated user base and inadequate platforms.

The key to Myspace’s early success was the naivete of its users–none of us protected our profiles back then, making it possible to leap from page to page. Facebook’s tightened security addresses the Myspace problem of malicious content, but it also eliminates any spontaneity and the possibility of meeting new people. The result is boredom.

If folks are getting tired of social networks, it’s because they’re outgrowing what’s available.

I’ve had a lot of conversations in the past few weeks about the ROI for nonprofits using Facebook. Why hasn’t online organizing taken hold on Facebook? Why is the Causes application raising so little money? I suspect it’s all connected to the social network slowdown. More on this, later this week.

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2 Responses

  1. I agree! I’m so bored of Facebook, dare i say it, my interest in Scrabulous is also waning…

    I’m secretly hoping for social networking mass suicide so I can stop communicating within facebook’s crappy mail programme and get back to using email like the olden days.

  2. Ed, I love the bleak vision of a “social networking mass suicide.” Kind of…poetic. It’s also nice to know I’m not alone in my Facebook frustration.

    I wonder what would happen if Facebook suddenly closed its doors and turned out the lights. Social media riots? Followed by widespread fear and isolation?

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