independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Beta: Facebook and its freshness problem

I don't know about you, but, lately, a lot of anti-Facebook sentiment has been appearing on my various timelines. Whether it's a friend's frustration at Facebook (written on Facebook), site commenters giving out about its dominance for events and communication or actual reports of 11m users leaving it in the US and UK in the last two months, it seems that a lot of people are getting sick of Facebook.

Maybe users have just grown tired of the ever-changing user experiences or are just bored of using the same old thing every day?

Last year's sponsored ad rollout did not help matters. By limiting the visibility of the posts of page owners to around 15pc in an effort to get users to pay for true reach, a lot of bands, artists and comedians who rely on Facebook to reach people are being asked to pay lots of money just so the fans can see their updates.

Facebook is no longer new, emerging or exciting. For many young people, it's already an old platform with a limited capacity. And you can see why. Facebook's branding is corporate. Whereas Myspace allowed you to express yourself to the detriment of the general user experience, Facebook is rigid and structured.

This is why Tumblr has been one of the more popular publishing platforms in recent years. It's expressive and bite-sized and a user can cultivate an identity and persona.

A survey of 5,000 teens recently highlighted how existing platforms are being superceded in growth by emerging ones. Snapchat is a messaging service in which the messages only last for 10 seconds. Vine videos are six seconds long. The trend is moving towards glimpse-based disposable social communication.

The people that Facebook need in order to continue dominance are teens, but they are the most fickle, not exactly loyal and less interested in what Facebook is offering.

However, Facebook is smart. They bought Instagram last year, which has become a dominant teen social platform, so whether they know it or not, the teens are still on board under another guise right now.

Irish Independent

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