Facebook Fatigue Sets In: Less Usage Predicted In 2013

A new survey suggests Facebook fatigue may be setting in for some, especially among the younger users for whom it was initially created nearly a decade ago on the Harvard campus.

More than a quarter (27%) of Facebook users plan to spend less time on the site this year, with 38% of those ages 18-29 planning to cut back, according to a new study by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

This is the first time Pew has asked people about future Facebook use. While there is no base comparison, it seems to support the thinking that younger users, who often lead the way in social media consumption, are less enamored of Facebook than in the past.

The Pew finding also echoes the results of an informal poll of six Facebook and Instagram users ages 17-28 last September by Macquarie Securities. In it, nearly all said they expected to be using Facebook less six months from the time of the survey. That report highlighted the growing popularity of Instagram, especially among teens.

Still, the Pew study found the vast majority of Facebook users (69%) plan to spend as much time on the site this year as in 2012, and 3% expect to spend more. Users devote roughly seven hours a month on average to the site compared to only about two hours each to others, such as Google, Yahoo and YouTube. Maintaining that level of stickiness is key to Facebook’s ad model.

The findings could give Facebook some cause for concern. For example, 28% of users say the social network has become less important to them than it was a year ago, and 34% say the amount of time they are spending on Facebook has decreased over the past year. Women are more likely than men to have increased time spent on Facebook, at 16% versus 9% for men.

The results were based on a phone survey of 1,006 American adults conducted from Dec. 13 to Dec. 16, 2012. The margin of error for the whole sample is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. 

3 comments about "Facebook Fatigue Sets In: Less Usage Predicted In 2013".
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  1. Jill Kennedy from Manka Bros., February 5, 2013 at 12:46 p.m.

    Every day FB becomes more and more irrelevant. I'm just surprise the stock never really had a bubble.The collapse will not be pretty...


  2. Robert Pettee from DigitalMouth Advertising, February 6, 2013 at 12:03 p.m.

    I hate traffic lights and gas prices - and while I complain about them (even while I'm driving), I'm going to continue driving my car.

    In technology and modern media, everything becomes "more and more irrelevant" by the day. If you're trying to make a point, I don't see it in your article but certainly do enjoy a different POV!

  3. Marc Razia from Marc Razia Inc, February 6, 2013 at 5:18 p.m.

    The problem with Facebook stats is that since its so complicated to actually delete an account (as opposed to deactivating it) many users who no longer use the site are still counted as users. When you then account for those folks who've pretty well given up on Facebook but check in periodically (like driving by your old house to check for mail) the numbers can even show activity that doesn't represent real activity.

    Then you add in that FB counts users as active when they "like" a website even if they never log in to FB itself and the big picture starts to emerge. Its quite possible user engagement on Facebook is slowing (or even declining) despite the numbers showing nothing but growth.

    All it takes is a simple Google search for "Facebook fatigue" and you can see that a large percentage of users are getting tired of the site, and who can blame them now that FB has shifted into a monetization mode. How many more ads can they cram down everyone's throats?

    I get the feeling its like watching an air craft carrier turn. To the casual observer its not even obvious that the boat has even begun to change direction and in fact it looks like its still headed full steam ahead. Its is only after a while that the reality becomes obvious to all. So I think FB is likely shifting downward but its just not yet obvious to the casual observer, yet if you look at how many people among your friends are now hardly posting at all you might get a glimpse of what is beginning to take hold.

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