Social media sites inherently have a hard time staying on top for long because they’re at the whim of very fickle users. Plus, the social landscape can change in the blink of an eye. A close competitor may overtake you like MySpace did to Friendster, or a site can be rendered obsolete by a “cooler” site — remember how “uncool” MySpace was when Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) came around? With the ever-changing social media platforms, you never know when it’s your turn to be a has-been, and Facebook may be next on the list.
In Facebook’s case, people are becoming wary of useless updates, privacy concerns, and even boredom of the same old baby pictures and relationship updates every day. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) fatigue is starting to set in — and teens are leading the charge.
Fear Facebook fatigue
Two new studies show that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) fatigue may be more reality than fantasy. A study by Pew Research found that 61% of respondents have taken an extended break from the site. The top four responses (shown below) are most telling.
21%: Way too busy / Didn’t have time for it
10%: Just wasn’t interested / Just didn’t like it
10%: Waste of time / Content was not relevant
9%: Too much drama/gossip/negativity/conflict
More concerning to Facebook is the site’s falling importance among youth, who typically lead social media trends. A study of teens by Piper Jaffray earlier this year showed that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was the most important social media network to 20% of respondents, down from 30% a year ago. As Facebook spills into older generations and friend requests from distant aunts and uncles pour in, the loss of appeal for teens is understandable.
New products like Facebook Home only exacerbate Facebook overload, overwhelming users with all Facebook, all the time. Twitter is watching these trends closely — the budding trend of finding social media useless — and the site is positioning itself as an vital media platform in order to swoop in and take Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s crown.
Twitter’s growing importance
Since Twitter was launched in March 2006, the site made its mark through its short blurbs and “tweets,” allowing friends to share random thoughts and ordinary people to follow their favorite celebrities and news forums. Since then, Twitter has harvested its inspiration of real-life, 140-character thoughts and evolved this initial principal into a fundamental news hub.
During the Boston Marathon bombing and the resulting aftermath, it was Twitter that became a key source of news and updates for residents. The Boston Police Department used Twitter as the tool of choice to communicate up-to-date information after the bombing and eventually the manhunt that brought the city to a standstill. It was a tweet that simply said, “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.” That sent the city — and country, for that matter — into celebration.
Countless organizations from CNN to the Boston Globe to ESPN use Twitter to disseminate information before it ever hits TV or websites. It has its flaws, but this immediate information is what separates Twitter from Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and makes it a must-have for social media users.