Facebook, Twitter and other social Website users are feeling some social media fatigue, according to Gartner, which conducted its survey before Google+ launched.
Social media fatigue is setting in
among some adopters of Facebook, Twitter and other social media Websites,
according to a survey from research firm Gartner.
Gartner found that 24 percent of people
surveyed said they use their favorite social media Websites less than when they
first signed up, with 33 percent citing concern for their online privacy
as a reason. Users are also tired of the constant stream of status updates
on these Websites.
The researcher polled 6,295 people aged
between 13 and 74 spanning 11 developed and developing markets in December 2010
and January 2011.
In Japan, the U.K. and the United
States, 40 percent of respondents said they used social sites more than when
they first started, 40 percent use it the same amount, while 20 percent use it
However, 50 percent of those surveyed
in South Korea and Italy said they use their social media sites more.
Conversely, 30 percent to 40 percent of users in Brazil and Russia said they
use their favorite social sites less.
"The trend shows some social media
fatigue among early adopters, and the fact that 31 percent of Aspirers
[younger, more mobile, brand-conscious consumers] indicated that they were
getting bored with their social network is a situation that social media
providers should monitor, as they will need to innovate and diversify to keep
consumer attention," said
Gartner analyst Brian Blau
Blau suggested branded content must be
kept fresh to hold users' attention on social networks. Why? The new generation
of consumers has a short attention span.
That doesn't tell the whole tale, as 37
percent of respondents, especially those in younger age groups and more
tech-savvy segments, said they are using their favorite social site more. This
is consistent with social media usage among younger generations, according to
Gartner analyst Charlotte Patrick.
"Teenagers and those in their
twenties were significantly more likely to say that they had increased their
usage, while at the other end of the 'enthusiasm spectrum,' the age-related
differences were much less marked, with fairly consistent percentages saying
that they were using social media less," Patrick added.
Facebook and Twitter court different
levels of fatigue. With close to 800 million users worldwide, Facebook's social
graph is simply massive and daunting, blighted only by the fact that users have
to send out friend requests to add people.
Twitter is a different animal. It has
200 million users, but anyone can follow anyone freely, which can be extremely
tiring for popular users to keep up with follower notifications.
It's a pity the survey was conducted
several months before Google launched Google+, a shiny new social network where
one wouldn't assume social media fatigue would set in so soon.
Yet Google+ has only been available in
limited field testing for six weeks, and has quickly shot to 25 million-plus
users looking to try the long-awaited new network to share information.
However, the Google+ social Circles
construct can be tiresome. As on Twitter, users may choose to follow anyone on
This means users, particularly
Googlers, geeks and journalists with high profiles, are finding themselves
inundated with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of notifications that they
have been added to a Circle.
On the other side of the coin, those
trying to add + folks find themselves challenged by trying to decide what
Circle to stick users in. There is the "paradox of choice" fatigue
factor, where too much choice in a service will result in users postponing
decisions, or even declining to participate.
And if Google+ early users feel
overwhelmed now, just wait until the network is open to the masses, and integrated across Google's Web services
. This is already happening
As Fast Company's Austin Carr noted last month
"In playing around with Google
Plus in the past weeks, I've started to feel that Google Plus is asking too
much from me. Rather than classify my contacts as I might subconsciously in
real life-as family, friends, or coworkers-I've been forced to consciously
determine my relationships with these people online. Suddenly I was dealing
with add requests from distant acquaintances from college extracurricular
programs; from friends' parents; from friends of friends; from friends of a
friends' girlfriends; from colleagues I like and from colleagues I don't; from
forgotten ex-coworkers; from strangers; from enemies, even. It's overwhelming."
Have you experienced social media
fatigue on Facebook, Twitter or Google+?