Ypulse Research Status Update: Facebook Fatigue
- July 22nd, 2010
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After the recently revived wave of “Facebook Fatigue” talk hit the web, Ypulse Research decided to survey 1,000 teens and college students from our own SurveyU panel to find out how their social networking has (and hasn’t) changed over time.
What we found was that while Facebook does still reign supreme above other social networks with teens and college students spending an average of 11.4 hours per week on the site, the grip, as suspected, isn’t as firm as it once was. A little more than a quarter of the students surveyed reported spending less or no time at all anymore on the site. Among those, half traced the change back to six months ago or less. Less surprising but worth noting, was the finding that over three-quarters of teens and collegians were going, going or gone from MySpace. Just a reminder of how the mighty can fall.
As for what was driving the change among the fatigued, we saw an interesting split between high school males and females. While 50 percent of girls claimed to be “tired of trying to keep up with all the activity” required of leading a demanding digital social life (more on that below), guys appeared to be getting pulled and pushed in a different direction with 47 percent saying “most of my friends are using other sites now” (possibly gaming or a community more interest-driven?) and 44 percent blaming Mom and Dad for crashing the party (more than half of those surveyed had parents on Facebook).
When it came to what the social network could do to improve the user experience, the points of contention were more universal: fewer ads and more privacy controls (a truth we’ve repeated time and again here on Ypulse—young adults do care what they share). Ad annoyance was also echoed in the stat that over half of Facebook users had never clicked through an ad before, and nearly half (48 percent) said they would gladly switch over to an ad-free network. Then again, with a third responding positively to “targeted ads that only show me things of interest” there might be a more palatable solution out there for the social networks that depend on ad revenue and the brands that provide them.
All that said though, it’s worth remembering that while certainly a noteworthy shift the defectors or would-be defectors are the minority. There are still plenty of Facebook fanatics—53 percent of high school females said they “can’t live without it” (hence the burn out syndrome) with 44 percent of high school males and college guys and women sounding only slightly less effusive, “Fun, but not essential.” And when it comes to what the next big thing is the answer is still unknown. Yes, there are a good number of teens on Twitter now (42 percent of high school students surveyed), particularly high school girls who are most likely using the site as a hybrid status update and pop culture newsfeed, but we have yet to see the same type of enthusiasm or mass adoption around micro-blogging that we do with a full-service social network.
Maybe that’s because Facebook took the liberty of encompassing a micro-blogging feature as well. On that note, status updates are only second to chatting, another relatively recently added feature, in favorite activities among high school students. It just makes me wonder whether we really will see a mass youth migration to a different network/short-form blog/mobile platform, or just peaks and valleys of interest in Facebook (with dual citizenship on those other sites/platforms) as it continues to evolve and hopefully work towards meeting the needs of its young users.
How Gen Y Lost That Loving Feeling For Facebook