back to article 'Facebook fatigue' kicks in as people tire of social networks

Shhh! Can you hear a hiss? That's the sound of naughty facts deflating the social networking balloon a tad. Whisper it, but numbers from web analytics outfit comScore have confirmed what the chatter in bars and cafes has been saying for months - people are, just, well, bored of social networks. The average length of time users …

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I think we'll still see a rise in usage of business networking sites...

such as Linkedin.com as they are a valuable tool for business networking and knowledge sharing but without all the baggage/trivia that accompanies membership of the social networking communities.

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That's sooo 2007!!

I hit the "I'm sooo over it" phase in less than two months :-) Facebook really is just friendsreunited on steriods, so the high and low are bigger and quicker, but it is useful - I met up with a friend on there that I hadn't seen for 10 years.

Microsoft paid $240M for a 1.6% share of Facebook to keep Google out and nothing more!

But that’s quite a business model for Facebook - keep finding major players in other markets willing to sign up “exclusive” deals. 240 mil here, another 150 mil there would be enough to keep the Z boy in bitch cards for life.

But I wonder if Zuckerberg understands the irony of running a social website funded by companies who just want to exclude each other... :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Business sites suck more than facebook

I keep a list of people on there but to be honest, most of the people I know I wouldn't want associated with me in business. I use facebook more than linked in because there's more flirting involved rather than all that c**k holding.

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Spam generator

Besides being a pointless waste of time, there is spam generated by your friends that gets sent to you as these "clever" plug-ins leave the default setup to "send notices" to your friends.

FaceBook and it's ilk are like animated gifs - real cute when they first came out, but they got old very fast.

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Anonymous Coward

@ David Gromm

Agreed. My own interest in Facebook and MySpace has been declining for months. However, the number of people I know who have signed up for and connected with me on LinkedIn has skyrocketed in the last 90 days.

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Paris Hilton

Another reason for losing interest...

... is a fairly recent, but massively expanding "feature" of many Facebook Apps.

You are invited by someone to add the, "How sexy is my cheesecake/ Compare your keyboard fluff" application, fill in the pointless answers, then click on "Get Results", only to be told, "You must invite 20 other members before you can view your results"...

Frankly, F.R.O was my response, followed by deleting the app. Asking me to send two or three invites, maybe, but I'd still be annoyed. Asking me to spam 20 more people so I can find out exactly "what type of Jelly Bean my Dog resembles" is just never going to work.

Paris, because whoever came up with the idea is also clueless and has more cash than sense...

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People are fickle

The valuations given to these Social Network companies are ridiculous. One thing that they never seem to factor in is the "fickleness factor". People have a limited amount of time to mess around on the web, and once something better/different/cooler comes along, yesterdays muse is dropped like a hot potato. Social networking is the big thing at the moment, but I guarantee within a couple of years there will be some other time wasting activity on the web that everyone is doing instead.

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Turn off the lights when you leave?

This article reminded me to log in and resume spying on my kids. Otherwise there's nothing there to see, really.

Perhaps I preferred staying in the dark. I still have to watch out for those damn vampires, though.

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Bez

Maturing? Au contraire.

"...claiming the falls are sign of the market maturing, and of fierce competition."

I would suggest the reverse is true. Look at the search engine market, look at the online auction market. Both now mature, and both totally monopolised by a single player. Why? Because if you want to find stuff, you go to the engine with the biggest index. If you want to sell stuff, you go to the auction site with the most buyers.

Likewise, if you want to waste time, you go to the site which has the most timewasters on it to hook up with. If Facebook isn't gathering momentum, it seems a pretty good sign that social networking is *really* struggling to find its Google. Either no-one has yet managed to muster enough 'stickiness' to keep the fickle users coming back, or the nature of web-based timewasting is simply *so* fickle and whimsical that even hitting new content on the same site is too uncool, and the whole idea in terms of a financial venture is another load of stupid investors pumping up another stupid bubble of bugger all.

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Guy
Flame

I wonder what will happen

If and when Facebook get forced to implement a 'delete my account' option.

If the EU has it's way, they're going to have to at some point, and when they do, I'd be very interested to see how many accounts vanish over a few weeks once the news gets around that they can now do that.

Personally, I joined facebook to look at some photos of a friends wedding, then got really annoyed by the endless vampire / werewolf / food fight invites, and so emptied out my details, but I'm still technically counted as an account, which aggravates me just a little.

Flame because I'd like to see facebook and it's ilk crash and burn.

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Paris Hilton

@ Dan White - Nail, Head, WHACK!

Spot on, bloody irritating all this "you must send to 5 friends to see your results". Ironically, it's only my more 'distant' friends leave my name ticked for this spam.

The Paris angle? - This sucks.

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Stop

Linked.In is Ok

But not great. It's useful as kind of an "online resume" for people looking to either recruit or get advice from people in their network who have certain qualifications and backgrounds, but other than that its not that great. People will say "Oh, but I can reach out to my network on LinkedIn!" To that, I counter with the tried and true email distribution list that will get you a much faster respoonse in most cases.

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Facebook

The Internet version of a refugee camp.

127.0.0.1 *.facebook.com

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Check out my profile... Bitch! (hum please?)

I think that would have been a better title for this story.

-dZ.

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Linux

Hype

I think all things go through a hype phase.. whether it was FriendsReunited in the beginning, Myspace, then Facebook, Linked In or FriendSite.com .. all things go through booming hype and then fade off into the ether, several years down the line will we be saying the same about the iPod or iPhone, HD or BluRay, Flickr, etc?

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Dead Vulture

Social networks = Bars

Social networks follow the bar model. Bars open, cool people come, the atmosphere is great, everybody in the in-crowd has a great time. Flash forward a year, and there's been a shooting inside, the decor is tattered, there's a no-trainers policy on the door and, well, all the cool kids have moved on.

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Um...

This article reminded me I have a facebook account. I just logged in to see what was going on and I'm greeted with a big blue box asking me to enter my e-mail address, which they already have, and my **e-mail password.**

Saywuh?

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IT Angle

News?

I dunno, the take on this appears to be surprise/ amazement (although less so from El Reg). Anyone with half a brain who knows how fickle people are/ how short their attention spans are could tell you that this was always going to happen, in much the way that the buzz of MySpace moved to be the buzz of Facebook.

Interestingly, it means that sites such as MyFriendsFaceSpaceReunitedBook resemble nothing so much as a giant pyramid scheme, desperately reliant on pulling in more of the uninitiated to maintain parity, let alone growth. It also suggests that companies such as NewsCorp still haven't a clue about the interweb thingy and how to invest wisely in it.

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Anonymous Coward

ridiculous

People running the social network sites are only fools if they're in it for the long term.

It's a bit like a pump and dump share scam.

They turn up, pump it up, get a load of users, get a load of cash, sell it to the first gullible suit and make off with the cash.

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IT Angle

What do they do now?

I have a question...

What exactly do the people/person who created the FaceBook/Bebo/MySpace backend do now? I mean, the whole thing is about 10 pages of code, so how do they justify the wages now?? Maintaining websites isn't exactly a round the clock position either o.O

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Stop

South? South!?

Come come stop using this obscene language.

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There is always the tried and true always safe

ladies with no clothes on sites to invest in.

Mark my words

the Internet and specifically websites

is a toy! a just for fun place.

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Happy

@Guy - Account deletion

Clear your account out, and then email Facebook support. On request, they deleted my account withing a couple of days.

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'bout time

Thank God for that! I've noticed that blogging gets much less news coverage these days. In fact, the whole 'isn't this internet thingy amazing/isn't this internet revolution over-rated' journo filler-fest seems to be pretty much over. Perhaps everyone can get back to using their computers in peace, not having to worry about the clouds of 'social commentators' looking to talk up or ridicule every new development in the continuing evolution of the interweb.

Or perhaps the whole process will be repeated when the next big thing comes along... (or when we next run out of proper news).

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Boffin

Give users something to do!

December does slow down as access to broadband decreases when this audience goes home for break. They also spend time w/family and friends 'offline' (wateva!).

I do believe that people have gotten bored of social networks, which accounts for FB and now MySpace and others opening their networks to 3rd party applications (i.e. OpenSocial) to keep people on their sites (remember the old buzzword "sticky"?).

Social Networks will either go niche or revolve around something to do instead of hope that people find interest in hyperlinking between people they don't know in search of good content and people.

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Paris Hilton

i'm glad that mark whasisface...

won't be getting that hugely over-rated sum.

Silly sausage, he should have sold it while it was obviously peaking.

moreover, I'm deeply enjoying the smug satisfaction that a whole slew of these stories are now now going to spread through the outlets, and I'll sit back watching the vacuous and banal gawp in stunned silence, as another of their "it changes everything" slides into the deadpool.

You summed it up perfectly with the whole "log in, spy on a few exes, log off".

the businessy oriented ones are not much better. show me a fully featured IM client

paris angle: vacuuous twat

(extra 'u' intended)

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Linux

My 2 Cents @ FB

First it was the people you know. Then came people you were friends with at school / uni. Then people you briefly knew during uni. Then people you nodded at during school. Then your grade 9 lab partner's best friend. Then the apps. The horrid horrid apps and the endless invitations. I won't loose any sleep over facebook taking the grand slump and disappearing into oblivion.

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Not just fickleness...

...but laziness. Let's face it, keeping your myspace/facebook/blog/whuteva up to date takes time and effort.

Forget boredom - there just isn't that much happening in my life that I can be bothered writing it all out for ten million strangers to read.

11:42: had a shit. It was big and stinky.

Yup, that was the highlight of my day. Hope you enjoyed it.

Games keep us going because they change. WoW and other mmporgs hold interest (although, how many of the people playing a year ago are playing now? I'll bet the actual turnover is fairly high) because they aren't static. Also, you can kill things.

It doesn't take long to fill in your details on the social networking sites. After that it's just the same thing day after day - there's no change. And there's no change because we're lazy - we're the ones generating the change. That takes too much effort. When something takes constant, driving effort we rebel, and push it away.

It's the same reason television hasn't completely lost out to the internet - we just can't constantly interact. Sometimes we just want to sit back and be entertained without the need to engage.

Folk who make social networking sites are themselves very social people. But as gregarious as humanity is, we still prefer to have our own space - that's why we build houses with opaque walls and get annoyed when someone peeks in our windows. Being social is not a 24/7 thing.

Static sites, laziness, privacy - add it all up. That's why these sites will eventually lapse into obscurity.

Still not convinced? Ask yourself this: how many of your friends had a blog two years ago? How many of them are actively maintaining them now?

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Alert

How to keep Facebook Pure?

...Facebook should not be a spamming tool. Unfortunately, most apps are an excuse to spam, and lead in to commercial services. This dilutes the core offering fo Facebook, as a social (re)discovery tool.

Now, I'm reluctant to respond to notifications, and check back infrequently. I'd like the old facebook back.

If you're reading this, then it's quite likely that you'll be interested in joining the "Keep Facebook Pure" group... unless, that is, you've already given up?

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Its for kids!

Hey, we all people that use The Register --and post comments here-- are just a bunch of "old people", compared to the teenagers, students that find Facebook simply coooool !

So, that you guys find it boring, or senseless, does not mean that kids feel just like you.

We, we have to work.

They, they just wanna have fun!

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@Dan White

Lol.....you captured the essence of Facebook so well in your description there. It just made me laugh out loud because some of the "daft" things you mention are not that far off from the real ones.

I actually belong to a group called "No I won't invite 20 friends to use your app" which has a big list of all those that FORCE invites.

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Silver badge

I would hazard a guess

that celebrity culture helped the rise of these social networking sites. Some people want to be noticed, some people think they are more important than they actually are. Once people realise that nobody is actually taking much notice of anyone, and they haven't become famous, the true value of these sites to the egotist becomes apparent. They will always have value to the marketeers whilst those deluded enough to think they have something to offer society post their inane lives up on the Internet.

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My Balloon...

... burst after just a months usage. I can filter spam from e-mails and ignore rubbish on the web, but when you've got friends 'poking' it at you every which way, it soon becomes wearisom.

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Alien

heeeeey...

>Ask yourself this: how many of your friends had a blog two years ago? How many of them are actively maintaining them now?

Heeeeey - I've got a personal page with blog type thingy and I know 2 people still maintaining theirs. Granted I only chuck up things like "Dawn of War" banners I've made or useful code snippets for people to download... but those are things I'd be doing anyway and they just go on my site as a matter of course.

Mind - I am a little bit more realistic in my expectations than most people - here's my meta-description on the site:

"This is a personal web development and portfolio type page - there really is nothing of interest here for the vast majority of people"

Visitors => increase in traffic => my hosting bill goes up

Therefore: Visitors = bad :)

Posting AC so none of you buggers can (easily) find my site :P

Anyway, "social networking" sites are just the new Geocities - and will probably go the same way - get bought out by Yahoo (for instance) and turned into a tiered service with a mix of limited "free" accounts and slightly better paid-for accounts.

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W
Pirate

The Death Of Annoyance?

Checked out the "No I won't invite 20 friends to use your app" and found the "The Death Of Annoyance" group.

It's a pretty cheeky comeback to the apps that won't let you in without spamming 20 of your mates.

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Internet Fatigue More Like...

I think the fatigue is channel related as much as anything. People want to get more efficient with the internet. People now use Facebook etc. as a post point and now they know how to use it they don't need to spend so long figuring it all out. People where also busy building their networks over the last 2 years and now they are established they again don't need to spend so long online. There is allot of very good research re: social networking which suggests its an established and here to stay part of the internet http://democratise.blogspot.com/2008/01/new-social-networking-study-by-royal.html and the volume is still massive even if it drops slightly http://democratise.blogspot.com/2007/12/social-media-visit-volumes.html. And I agree with the previous comments re: business networking sites, I think they will grow massively but they do still 'suck'.

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Go

You get out what you put in

I think that Facebook is what Friends Reunited wanted to be!

I like to think I'm an old hand at the social networking 'thing'. Anyone remember the CiX conferencing (AMEOL)? The only two social networking sites I stick with now are Facebook (with all the dead sheep switched off) and OutEveryWhere (for gay men & women). The main reason is that I can easily keep up with my geographically seperate friends (college, work), but the main reason is to organise social events and meet new people. Instant Messaging is too 'point to point' to be of any use. This is something that Out Everywhere is good at and I use Facebook in the same way. I also like the ability to quickly share photo-albums with people. Flickr, photobox etc are restrictive, in the sense that you have to be members or know your friends' e-mail addresses. My partner loves Scrabulous atm!

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Anonymous Coward

LinkedIn my a**e

That's not an offer, it's a fact.

LinkedIn seems like a great idea, building up a network of business contacts and virtually pulling all of their plonkers through the vapid Questions services and such like.

But trust me. It's not. I got to 500+ in my network. Initially, I added biz cards i'd had lying around for years. Then every person I had meetings with got added. Then I found myself going to meetings just to grow my network - it gets quite obsessive. Okay I'm joking. But the point is, you'll soon hit a volume and then turn round and ask yourself - Now what?

They'e a bunch of goons who I have to business dealings with. So what? Where's the value of me inputting all this data - what am I getting back? I'll tell you exactly what you'll get back - some bullshit questions and the occasional CV.

Social/Business/Whatever networking online is bullshit fadishness. It's FirstTuesday over the wire - but without the opportunity to tell lots of VC's they're c***s.

Trust me. It'll never work. Get out while you can.

Worse. Even it's now heading into the dating game pool - have you seen the photos of the people you once respected appearing? Good lord. What happened to self respect.

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Flame

LOL. Best Analogy Ever

RE: "Social networks = Bars" by Anonymous Coward. Good one, pal.

About Facebook, it has become a popularity contest where people seem to compete in adding the most "friends" and the most junk on their profile as possible. Sooner or later, the whole site will be such a big mess that users who wanted to do *useful* social communication and networking become so annoyed that they'll go somewhere else.

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Social networking sites have a naturally limited lifespan

Anyone remember Friendster? That had the same type of rise and fall in, ah, 2004 I think. It seems that such networks have a finite lifespan, which is probably marked by the first time that someone finds someone else that they know and the day when the spam traffic starts to outweigh the site's usefulness. In the meantime, the founders should be obliged to make as much hay as they can eat, fill their gold plated jacuzzis with champagne and ride the wave while they can. It won't be their money after all.

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Thumb Up

Those **** sites...

Ok, does anyone remember hi5? That was the first social networking site I remember. Actually, most of my former classmates remember it as "the first one". That must've been 2004, as one of my pics there is from my ex-gf.

Then a crapload os "hi5-imitators" came along, and so massively that by mid-2005, we already thought we had enough of that.

So now the only blog I update is my MSN Spaces one (which I got because of my hotmail acct) and the hi5 profile... Every 6 months though.

Facebook didn't even register as a blip on my radar (I confused it with "Facebox") until I saw the regular article feed on El Reg.

I just hope this also kills the annoying "Web-2.0" shite as well...

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Paris Hilton

Same story, different actor

AOL=>Yahoo=>eBay=>MySpace=>YouTube=>FaceBook=>???

Who will be next for their 15 months of fame?

Paris. Cuz she looks like she's really trying to think of the answer.

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Did I miss anything?

Maybe I'm antisocial, but I never bothered with the whole myfacespace thing. Did I actually miss anything or is it all just forums and PMs done different?

Never saw the point of msn/aim either, when I have my trusty IRC here :P

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Usual Story

It's the same with all these things. They start of as brilliant ideas, they catch on and all of a sudden the big corporations come sniffing round. At that point the innovators sell out, the sites become bloated and ad-ridden, and the users turn tail.

Remember webring? It was a great idea ruined by big business.

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Paris Hilton

@system

I would guess you have missed nothing of any importance or interest. I say guess because I would have had to have visited one of these pointless places to be certain.

Now I am pretty anti-social because a great many people are self obsessed vacuous non-entities, just like Paris here.

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Paris Hilton

Quick!

A large site that features space for you to post information, personal details that will come to haunt you, pictures of your cat, and annoying songs that play before the user can find the off button, littered with ugly backgrounds and flashing banner ads.

Am I describing Myspace, FaceBook, or Geocities in 1998?

Paris made me post this.

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Dead Vulture

stop the rot!

Facebook fatigue has definitely set in if my network is anything to go by. Time was (around from January to summer 2007) if you'd have looked in on anyone in my office about 50% of them would've been refreshing their 'home' newsfeed to see what was going on and what their friends 'is' was at the time.

Now it's about 5% and they're probably only on to clear out the unwanted app requests (I got asked 'What greek philosopher are you' today. Deleted!).

The key to facebook's success was it's simplicity and that's long gone with the seemingly unpoliced barrage of applications. Stop the rot facebook, or it'll be 0% and you'll be the new myspace at next year's .net awards!

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Coat

Geocities? What is this Geocities?

What about Worlds Away, MSN UK's The Village Green, MSN Chatrooms, ICQ, the list goes ever on.

The only difference being that people didn't hype em up to be the next big moneymaker back in those days.

They come, they go. These days they leave a couple of multimillionaire founders behind them

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Data Solid, but is Williams Looking at Whole Picture

Considering the focus of APOC (USC’s graduate program in the area of online communities of which I am a participant), it should be no surprise the headline of Chris Williams’ recent article in The Register raised a red flag (“‘Facebook fatigue’ kicks in as people tire of social networks”). In the article, Williams asserts that the average length of time users spend on the top three social networks is on the slide: “Bebo, MySpace and Facebook all took double-digit percentage hits in the last months of 2007.”[1] And while Williams goes out of his way to assuage us that ‘social network’ sites[2] are not going to disappear anytime soon, the data presented in the article is alarming....

The rest of my anaylsis of Chris Williams' article go to http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddswm24m_57d4djkzhm

Tom Grasty is a 15-year veteran of the advertising, public relations and entertainment industries. Currently, he is Head of Development at Blaze TV, an LA-based production company with over 500 hours in produced music programming. His debut novel, Blood on the Tracks, has just been published and is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mr. Grasty, go to www.tomgrasty.com.

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