Commentary

Can Mobile Fix Facebook's Posting Problem?

Facebook appears to have a posting problem.

Over the past year, the share of users updating their status is down from 50% to 34% -- while the share of those posting pictures is off from 59% to 37% -- according to new data from market research firm GlobalWebIndex.

This trend is partially a result of social media’s maturation, and people finally putting socially acceptable limits on their sharing. (Translation: We never needed play-by-play accounts of your spring vacation.)

In another sign of social media's growing up, people are also learning to divide their time between networks. Facebook is still the best way to show off your new baby to the world; Instagram is for visually convening with your tribe; Twitter is for running conversations and stream-of-consciousness rambling; and Snapchat is all about experimentation.

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In response, Facebook is testing a number of features to keep people around, and sharing their faces off.

As The Wall Street Journal notes, the social giant has started putting prompts related to ongoing events at the top of users’ news feeds. Based on a user’s likes and location, prompts mention a big sporting event, for example, or a major holiday as conversation-starters. The point is to get people posting.

Whatever the approach, Facebook will find the solution to its posting problem through mobile innovations. Obviously, the location-related prompts wouldn’t be possible without mobile. The company also just expanded its Notification system to include birthdays, life events, upcoming events, sports scores, and TV programming reminders. And, that’s just the beginning.  

Already, the efforts seem to be paying off. A Facebook spokesman tells The Journal that response to the prompts has been “excellent.”

If that doesn’t convince you, GlobalWebIndex found that 50% of users said they were active or contributed to Facebook during the third quarter of the year -- up from 42% in the first quarter.

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