With a recent plummeting share price we ask the question “is social giant Facebook on its way out of favour with its users?”
It all started with desk top users receiving invitations from friends to join something called Facebook. Launched in February 2004 Zuckerburg’s university website had taken off. Due to its popularity and growth in numbers businesses even had to police distracted employees logging in for personal status updates. Facebook was and still is a great place for keeping in touch with family and friends, co-workers and popular brands. We “like” a football team, and view cringe-worthy photos taken during a night out. Then there came the law suits and users became scared of possible repercussions. We started policing ourselves by consciously not logging in whilst partying and waiting until the sober light of day. That sudden panic, a realisation that you could have actually written what you really felt about someone. OMG!
Moving into the mobile social experience seemed a natural and completely painless transition. No longer did we just text, make and receive phone calls by pressing buttons on a keypad. Now using smart phones and touch screen technology we could actually see where our caffeine drinking friends were. In 2007 and using the first iPhone we could take a photo and upload it tagged with a location and a status saying how much fun it would be for everyone if we all got together and joined in the experience.
Recent Black & White projects include the use of QR tech to drive offline readers to various online experiences. Tracking users from press advertising, as they scan, order and then walk in to a store influenced by GPS technology.
As apps became increasing sophisticated we decided that we couldn’t really see things including our photos clearly any more. We needed to log in quickly using a screen that was bigger. April 2010, the iPad had arrived.
Tablets have grown in popularity with Apple leading the way. Increased popularity for user friendly features such as Face-time, the iCloud, more apps allowing us to do more things, on the move.
Driven by competitors such as Google+, Facebook offers users integrated Skype video communications to compliment instant messaging. The bug was well and truly bitten, more buy-outs including photo-sharing from Instagram, more functionality. What had started as a back-link strategy for off-page website optimisation had turned into something much more fun and was now totally engaging, for all age groups, genders and nationalities.
Then came the floatation. On the 18th May 2012 Facebook shares went on sale for $38 each. Within days they had dropped to $26.90. Facebook shares soared and then fell like a very large anti-social stone. Some recovery is expected but will it be enough? We still need to be social but have our reasons changed and do we need to be social with quite so many people? Apparently not…
For what ever the reason statistics highlight the fact that we are now reducing the numbers in our social cycles. 2012 has seen more division, more segregation between our professional contacts and our close friends and family. We understand that’s its ok to have more than one user name, more than one log in and not just Facebook. LinkedIn and Twitter have both seen similar changes. We’re now more informed. We use social media for more than just keeping in touch. We use social media for commercial gains, to develop professional networks and develop our own brand awareness.
We understand that Facebook like the rest profits from the insight it has on its users. We are all part of a social media database, where each of us updates our own personal and professional preferences. A highly treasured commodity sold to advertisers for highly targeted marketing activity. Google is another obvious major player. A $28 billion business generating revenue from advertising – wrong! A $28 plus billion dollar business generating revenue from us, it’s users.
Today Reuters confirmed that 35% of Facebook users spend less time logged compared to this time last year. That 4/5 of Facebook’s 100 million users are not influenced by advertisers and that things may not be working as well as first thought with nearly half of all American’s thinking Facebook is now just a passing fad.
So what next, will Facebook survive or if as we suspect it doesn’t then what next? No doubt we will want mobile convenience but the does screen size still matter? Are you watching Facebook chat on a Smart TV during this summer’s Olympics or have you stopped using Facebook altogether?
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