Teens to Facebook: “See u later… on Twitter!”


Share on LinkedIn

In the past year or so, I’ve been hearing more and more reports of so-called “social media fatigue.” I just did a Google search on that phrase and found 14 million hits.

“Fatigue” is a polite way of saying the buzz has worn off, and social media is maturing. On CustomerThink, “social business” was our hottest topic from 2008 to 2010, but that shifted beginning in 2011. Now Customer Experience is the top dog, and social media has been repositioned by some as a “social experience.”

In May, emerging tech analyst Ray Wang of Constellation Research, wrote that trendsetters seem to be “socialed out” of their personal and corporate social networks.

Oops, that was May of 2012.

A Gartner study earlier this year found that nearly 1/3 of “Aspirers [younger, more mobile, brand-conscious consumers] indicated that they were getting bored with their social network.”

It won’t come as a surprise to parents with teens that it’s our fault! According to an FT article a couple of weeks ago:

The arrival of older relatives on Facebook is one of the top reasons cited by teens for losing interest in the platform and moving to sites that allow pseudonyms, such as Tumblr and Twitter, or messaging apps such as Line, Viber and Snapchat that are better suited for conversations between small groups of friends.

Speaking of Twitter, that seems to be one of the beneficiaries of Facebook fatigue, at least for now. Unfortunately, the future of Facebook is more tied to teens than soccer moms. Bernhard Warner reports in today’s San Francisco Chronicle (sorry, no link) on recent Pew and Piper Jaffray studies, finding that teens are losing interest in Facebook, and moving to more “free-wheeling social news and discussion forums.”

The Pew study found that a whopping 61% of current Facebook users say they’ve taking a break of several weeks or even months. (My son was one.) Reasons cited were mostly about wasting time or getting bored.

My take: “Walled gardens” never work in the long term. Didn’t work for Compuserve or AOL, and it won’t work for Facebook, either. Also, this trend isn’t good news for early Facebook investors, when the stock is down 37% from its IPO price of a year ago.

Looking forward, it will be interesting to see whether Facebook can monetize mobile users while simultaneously combating teen flight. And whether Twitter fatigue will be next.

Further Reading:



Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here