Tag Archives: MySpace

Facebook Fadeout?

A basic law of gravity says that what goes up must come down and I suppose those laws apply to social sites as well. Witness MySpace, Zynga, and others. Now I don’t believe that social media is going anywhere. It’s become too important a communications channel and too ingrained into people’s lives. However, I do think that which social sites are the focus of social activity will continue to be an ever-changing landscape, particularly among the young and among early adopters.

I see far less activity on Facebook from my younger friends (by young I mean under 30 and under 25 in a number of cases) than I do on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, and other places.  You might have heard about the Piper Jaffray report stating, as TechCrunch reported,

that interest in Facebook seems to be declining heavily among teens. Though teens still dub Facebook their most important social network, Piper Jaffray reports that the numbers are down regarding how many teens see Facebook as the most important social media website.

What it more interesting to me is the report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project that found that even though 94 percent of teenage social media users still have Facebook, more and more are jumping ship to Twitter and Instagram because of what Pew found as “increasing adult presence, people sharing excessively, and stressful ‘drama.’”

Then there are brands who are trying to tap into that audience.  As usual, marketers tend to be their own worst enemies:

Retailers that push fewer posts, but better and more targeted ones, are gaining an edge over those that pursue volume when it comes to publishing Facebook content, new data suggests.

The 50 Social Retail Report from enterprise social media management company Expion analyzed 16,000 posts for the top 50 retail brands as designated by Interbrand. It found that as a whole, fan engagement and volume decreased for retail brands on Facebook, despite their increases in published posts – implying a need for more thoughtful earned and paid media strategies on the platform.

As we’ve discussed before, there really is something to be gained from listening and engaging rather than yelling and spamming.  Quality is demonstrably better than quantity.

All these reports tie together in my mind.  No matter how big a social site is, there are those who become bored and who move on to the next thing.  It’s like the old Yogi Berra quote about a place being too popular so no one goes there anymore.   Kids don’t want to be hanging out in cyberspace with their parents (or teachers or old guys like me!).  They don’t want to be deluged by massive amounts of marketing jetsam.  Is Facebook dying?  No.  But if you’re putting your marketing eggs in that basket in an attempt to reach the younger demo, you might be.


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One of the themes we touch upon here is the repeating nature of events.  Or as Peter Allen put it, everything old is new again (so much so that Barenaked Ladieswrote a song by the same name).

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Today’s meditation on this concerns Facebook, or rather an interesting bit of research that came out from the AP and CNBC concerning Facebook’s future.  They conducted the poll in anticipation of Facebook going public and my immediate reaction was AOL‘s trajectory morphing to MySpace‘s morphing to…???   The AP piece summed it up with this question:

Is Facebook A Fad?

You’re laughing?  46% of the poll respondents believe Facebook  will fade away as new companies come along, and it’s not just the old farts – younger adults are no more apt than their older counterparts to expect Facebook’s long-term success; 51 percent think it will fade.

For those of us who have been in digital since the start of the commercial era, it’s not a weird question.  Fifteen years ago, one would have asked the same of AOL and could not have imagined that it would pretty much be a blip.  The rise and fall of MySpace is much more recent but illustrative.  So quit your laughing and think about how the nature of the beast is changing.  Facebook is going from a company built to attract and service folks like you and me to a company that’s built to attract and service marketers.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing except that Facebook seem to be bad at it.

You might have read that General Motors is pulling its advertising from Facebook.  That’s a $10 million deal — not massive in terms of value — but very embarrassing for the social network because apparently it was too hard for GM to quantify their ROI.  The poll data supports that thinking – 57% of users say they never click on ads or sponsored content, while 26 percent “hardly ever” click on them.

Like AOL long ago, there are some other underlying factors that might portend bad things.

  • Just 13 percent say they trust Facebook completely or a lot to keep their personal information private.
  • A large majority (59 percent) say they have little or no faith in the company to protect their privacy.
  • Even among the site’s most frequent users — those who use it multiple times a day —half say they would not feel safe making purchases through the site.

There’s another great analysis from Forrester here and I’m sure more will be written as Facebook’s IPO happens later this week.  So is Facebook a fad?  I’ll let you respond via the comments, but my thinking is that while “fad” might not be the right term, it’s definitely not invulnerable.  Given the underlying concerns from users and marketers, someone ought to spend an hour reviewing the history of AOL and recall that MySpace went from “the most popular site in the US” in 2006 to losing half its traffic between 2009 and 2010.  What’s your thinking?

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And Now For Something Completely Different…

Carnoustie Golf Course. The championship cours...

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I woke up this morning and landed in the midst of a major. Yep, it’s time for The Open Championship and there’s nothing like turning on the tube at 5:30 and seeing the world’s best golfers looking like…well…ME out there as they struggle with wind, rain, and a very different sort of golf. It’s the world’s oldest major championship and while I know that many of you care not a whit about either golf or sport, I do and I’m driving. Of course, there’s also a business lesson in here too. Continue reading

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