Like anything new, the novelty seems to be wearing off social media.
According to a recent Gartner survey that asked nearly 6,300 people between the ages of 13 and 74 about their use and views of social media, 24% said they are using their favourite social media services less than when they initially joined, while 37% of respondents, particularly younger and more tech-savvy ones, are using their favourite social media services more.
“The trend shows some social media fatigue among early adopters, and the fact that 31% 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.
Geographically, the survey found that in mature markets such as Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. about 40% of respondents using the site more than when they first started, 40% using it the same amount, and 20% using it less. Among the countries in which social media is being used less were Brazil and Russia — both with 30% to 40% of respondents showing less interest.
The Gartner survey is definitely interesting but it’s not terribly surprising. It illustrates that social media is no longer new and shiny. Instead, it’s becoming part of the landscape. This isn’t a bad development but simply a reflection that as any technology evolves, its usage by different kind of people changes as well.
For younger people, social media has staying power because it becomes an integral part of how they live their lives, communicate with friends and consume content. For tech-savvy people, social media provides tools to make them more efficient and productive, while being fun to use.
For everyone else, social media usage can go either way depending on how relevant it becomes after the initial novelty factory disappears. For some, social media sticks because it offers them something of value. For others, they discover there is less of a need for social media in their personal and professional lives.
Perhaps the biggest message the Gartner survey delivers is social media usage isn’t ubiquitous. There are many people who have no or little interest in social media because there is no role for it. For those of us close to the social media “fire”, this reality can be difficult to appreciate but it reflects the old adage of “different strokes for different folks”
Are you suffering from social media fatigue?