Stop a random person on the street in any typical town and the odds they have heard of Facebook are pretty darn high. The chances that they are also a Facebook member is probably equally so. Of all of the social networks in the world, Facebook (or FB as many people use for shorthand) is the most well known and has the most users. I have been a member of Facebook since 2007. That’s longer than I known a lot of my closest friends.
Initially, it was ‘the place to be’ digitally. Gone was the ability to over customise like My Space – everyone’s profile was very similar and easy to navigate. As the functionality evolved, people were able to easily share their thoughts, feelings, pictures and media of interest with their self-controlled group on contacts. Facebook, along with so many other social media sites, such as Twitter and Pinterest, became quickly embedded in to our lives and slowly ever more accessible due to smart phones. To a degree, people have become ‘hooked’ on social media – it is now a crutch that stops people feeling alone even for the brief few minutes whilst sat on their own in a restaurant! According to a Lady Geek tweet, 21% of people in an ecigarettedirect poll said they over-used social media**.
“21% of those polled said they spent too long on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.” Poll by ecigarettedirect.co.uk
— Lady Geek (@ladygeek) February 23, 2013
It followed on to say, in another tweet, that 18% felt they were addicted and 1 in 10 want to cut down.
18% of people polled by ecigarettedirect.co.uk– Say they’re addicted to at least one social media with 1/10 vowing to cut down their habit
— Lady Geek (@ladygeek) February 24, 2013
As Facebook opened up a set of developer accessible APIs, moving Facebook to be a platform as well as a social media site, the site became littered with games. So instead of sharing snippets of their lives, people took to playing and, instead, sharing their game progress. There was only so much I could take of ‘Farmville’ updates before every Farmville message was banned from my wall!
Since then, I feel there has been a decline in usage of FB. Rather than sharing routinely, most people do what I tend to do and use it as a way to ‘pass the time’ and ‘see what people are up to’. Except, with most of us doing that (or not going near it all) that leaves very little to actually read. I’m not alone in noticing this and I have to wonder if people are finally getting tired of sharing on FB. Or is it that they no longer trust it to put much information on there? After numerous ‘dramas’ when FB have tried to subtly change their security policies and make everything public, I wouldn’t be surprised. Or, perhaps the ‘intelligent’ FB filtering on my wall means I just don’t see most things now-a-days. Perhaps it’s a sign that I should break my dependency…at some point!
**I wasn’t able find the original source poll though, so am working on a loose assumption that the tweets are accurate!