Saturday, January 25, 2014

Adults could follow teens in abandoning Facebook

It’s not hard for me to imagine Facebook going the way of MySpace. The social network is a mess and becoming less relevant to users by the day in my estimation.
A controversial study by researchers at Princeton University predicted recently that Facebook could lose 80% of its users by 2017. The study was debunked by Facebook data scientists and others for its use of Google search data to predict engagement trends rather than studying actual engagement trends. Facebook called the study “utter nonsense,” according to TechCrunch.
The study got a lot of coverage in the U.S. because it played into what a lot of people already feel about the massive social network.
People are expressing a lot of frustration with Facebook as it ramps up advertising and constantly tweaks its News Feed algorithms, changing what information is presented to users.
Facebook faces competition from mobile apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat and other networks like Twitter and Google+.
Facebook may be healthy today, with 728 million daily active users and 1.19 billion monthly active users as of Sept. 30, but online audiences can be fickle.
Articles have been trickling out about discontent among Facebook users.
First, reports started showing young people abandoning Facebook. A European study said Facebook “is dead and buried” to older teenagers, who prefer Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat.
A study by iStrategyLabs earlier this month said Facebook has lost 59% of its college users and 25% of its teenage users in the last three years, IBD reported.
Freelance analyst Benedict Evans says Facebook’s core product, News Feed, is “broken” and has “collapsed under its own weight.”
Too many items clutter people’s news feeds and users can’t read it all and have a difficult time finding things that are relevant to their lives, he said, according to Business Insider.
Facebook is overstuffed with news articles, videos, photos, Internet memes, status updates, games and, increasingly, advertisements. It suffers from featuritis or feature creep. It does everything, but does nothing well.
At worst, Facebook will become like Yahoo, with billions of users, but no one really thinks about it much, Evans said.
In a video, science blogger Derek Muller slammed Facebook for the changes it’s making to the algorithms on its News Feed.
“The problem with Facebook is that it’s keeping things from you,” Muller said. “You don’t see most of what’s posted by your friends or the pages you follow.”
Facebook is now treating content providers like advertisers, trying to get them to pay for better placement in users’ news feeds, Business Insider reported.
Personally, I’ve never been a big Facebook user.
First, I used it mainly as a bookmarking service for interesting articles, because its ubiquitous like and share buttons made that easy. But finding those articles on Facebook now is quite difficult.
Later, for grins, I used Facebook to communicate with dozens of Googlegangers around the world. But friending other men named Patrick Seitz lost its appeal and I eventually unfriended them all.
I also used Facebook to connect with a childhood friend, which was nice. But there are multiple ways to do that now, such as through Twitter, LinkedIn, About.me and other services.
I still keep two Facebook accounts (one personal and one for work), but I don’t visit them very often. The big question is: Are other people feeling the same way?

Photo: Screenshot of my Facebook page with my Googlegangers.

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