RAW: Facebook Fatigue Part 2

While the data confirm the drop off in Facebook’s appeal, at least in North America, (see Part 1 of this series at Facebook Fatigue Part 1 by Lewis Dowell) with the buzz of Facebook addiction starting to wear thin for those who first got on board as they get older, more subtle forces I suggest are probably at work.

Two years ago, Facebook was the hippest thing around, a place where with a few minutes work your profile could propound a self view (whether the one intended or not) to not only your real friends and contacts but the world – a narcissist’s nirvana where everyone around the planet could gaze and be mesmerised by the beauty of it all and you knew that and you wanted that. What current or immediately ex-teenager, flushed with the new freedoms of those wonderful years and seeking all manner of gratification could resist the siren calls?

Facebook encouraged this and also for businesses to get on board in a manner where thousands of ‘fans’ could be racked up seemingly overnight. Facebook was the way to your market, your customers, in ways a website couldn’t match.

But then reality dawned. Your public profile could be misused and Facebook would do little about it even in the most public of cases (those that made mainstream media). Your images could be used by others and Facebook did little about it, even though they claimed ownership to everything we uploaded. Stories spread of employers or prospective employers ‘spying’ on workers or candidates to see what they were saying and to see what type of person was actually presenting themselves. And can you believe it, actually acting on what they saw!

Then Facebook limited ‘wall’ updates to just those you most interact with, carving out the flotsam of posts but also removing the marketing tool that most attracted itself to businesses – the ability to continually communicate with their prospective (self selected) customers. With the random and the fascinating gone, the ‘wall’ has quickly become a bore. Business profiles became little more than a place to direct people to visit, little better than your website and most likely not half as good.

With it also came hefty increases in advertising rates – often up quadruple in the space of a year or so – the real motivation behind the business changes Facebook made in this time.

So guess what? People found they needed to find other ways to make contact with all manner of aspects of their life, with Twitter and the blogosphere taking off. People also became fearful of what their profile in the public domain meant for them – maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to exhibit yourself – from sexual preferences to images of you vomiting in hotel car parks – to the world.

So, people ramped up their privacy positions, not only generally but also to those within their so-called circle of friends, the lists of which got increasingly culled.

As Facebook became more mainstream, so older people signed on, God forbid, parents and their friends to whom nothing could be worse than exposing your real world. And so the shutters came down even further.

To be sure, Facebook is not going away but its future probably resides in being little more than a directory to find people (and businesses) in your life – past, present and future – in ways that email addresses, let alone physical street addresses just cannot. To be sure, this makes it a great resource.

Advertising will become increasingly less effective as not only people sign off but simply don’t log on to see what was the world going on around them buzzing as it did, even one year ago.

At 1am last night, it was a great pumping ‘look at me, look at me’ party but by now, the next morning, Facebook has fizzled and in the cold light of day, it has revealed itself to be little more than a memorable phenomenon that, yes, was all a bit too good to be true.

1 comment

  1. The failure of facebook is just paving the way for Google Plus. It’s better than facebook for what it gets rid of (the BS and the crappy games) and for what it adds (selective privacy, collaboration tools and integration with the internet at large).

    Bring it on. Google Plus will be what people turn to when they’ve had enough of the narcissistic frenzy of facebook and want something simpler, stronger and smarter.

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