Opinion: Facebook Fatigue. Is Social Media Peaking?

Posted on: 10.18.2010 By: Brian McNitt Leave a Comment

I’m noticing interest in Facebook wane — in the same way it did for Friendster, MySpace, and partly for Twitter in early 2010. It feels like Facebook is peaking. Is it possible that people are starting to feel that the world is greater than a series of tweets, “Likes,” and comments?

Is Facebook peaking? (Photo of Japanese commuters texting, by Josh Libatique http://is.gd/g40Tj )

Look at the people around you staring dully at their mobile devices, ignoring the people around them and their immediate surroundings. Some are texting, many are scanning their Facebook and social media feeds — over and over again — hoping to find one novel tidbit of information that makes the compulsive searching worthwhile.

While social media micro updates were once thrilling and novel, as a web professional I sense people are starting to feel restless and bored with current social media formats and content. I sense they are becoming apathetic to 140 character summaries and the predictable snarky replies. Yet people continue to habitually scan social media streams. Why? It’s not because it’s rewarding now — it’s because they were rewarded at some point in the past and they’re not sure what else to focus on in the present. The public has not been presented with a compelling alternative.

So what’s next? Some things to consider.

Q: What are people searching for, not finding?
A: A deeper connection with something. Something “out there.”

Q: Where are people searching?
A: On mobile devices.

Q: What are people ignoring?
A: People are ignoring others around them and their own immediate surroundings.

Is Facebook getting boring? Eyes and ears open, antennas up for the next digital people connector. Where is social media headed? Based on the above, I have some ideas. I think the next big thing — the thing people are searching for — is “closer” than we think.

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Author | Brian McNitt
Brian’s career path zigzagged from pre-med at Purdue University to bike racing and a career in sales and marketing for Schwinn and other bicycle companies. That was until the inception of the World Wide Web, when he took his science and marketing background full force into web design. He was a founding member of Montclare Technologies—one of the first and hottest interactive agencies in the U.S. In 2000, he founded TrendMedia, a San Francisco-based web design and interactive agency. Brian is now one of the leading experts in web technology and social media, and is a recognized authority in web accessibility, WordPress and SEO.