A new survey from market researcher Gartner reveals that aspirational, ‘early-adopter' types are developing ‘social media fatigue' and are using sites like Facebook less often than they used to.
Overall social networking use is still on the rise, but among certain proportions of the market it has reached maturity and the novelty is wearing off. The Gartner survey covered 6,295 respondents, between the ages of 13 and 74, in 11 countries at the turn of the year.
"Overall, our survey underlined respondents' continued enthusiasm for social media," said Charlotte Patrick, principal research analyst at Gartner. "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."
"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 Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.
A quarter of all respondents said they were using social networking less. The number one reason given for doing so was privacy, with older users more concerned than younger ones about this. Brazil and Russia were the two countries in the survey that experienced the greatest decline in use.
This trend could also be a product of people becoming more tech-savvy in general. Social networking sites offer a great hub for sharing and interacting with your friends and families, but there are hundreds of other ways to do this. The increasing encroachment into Facebook of brands and corporations could also be a turn-off.