The End of Time-Wasting Social Media?

By Mark Evans - Monday, December 12th, 2011 at 7:30 am  

Is the social media party coming to an end? After raging for the past five years, have we come to a point where the ultra-growth of social media is over?

In some respects, it is hard not to believe social media is quickly maturing, and it is no longer shiny, new or fresh. It’s not that social media is dying or boring, it’s just become part of the landscape.

If you’re looking for a social media party-pooper, Forrester CEO George Colony seems be campaigning for the job. At the LeWeb conference in Paris, he threw a bucket of cold water on social media by suggesting people have no more time for social media and, in particular social media services.

“We believe social is running out of hours. Forrester believes we are reaching the limit of hours that people can give to social,” he said. (Hat tip to CNet)

Not only that but Colony expects to see harsh reality for social media start-ups coming down the road.

“We are in a bubble,” he said during his presentation last week. “If are building a social platform that will require more time of more users, you will likely not be successful. We believe this will sweep away some of the nonsense like FourSquare, and some these time-wasting social applications. The move to the post-social world, which is a little like the Web in the year 2000″

“We believe there will be a new wave of social applications that are more efficient. faster easier to use a higher value per time equation. The time-wasting mode no longer available to social. We see a new wave new players – more efficient and more time-saving.”

While Colony is being a tad dramatic, he does make a good point that people only have so much time to use social media, and it is getting more difficult for a new player to establish itself given the market is so crowded and competitive.

Like any emerging market, there are dominant companies (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube) and a slew of secondary players battling to become viable. As much as it would be great to see a new and exciting startup appear on the scene, the intense competition and the noisy marketplace will make it a challenge.

This could make social media less exciting because people like new things even if they’re content with what they are using. Maybe the “sweep” expected by Colony will be a positive development by making the landscape less cluttered – sort of like the new, healthy growth that happens after a forest fire.

At the same time, it is also important to recognize social media has become an entrenched and ubiquitous part of our personal and professional lives. It may not be red-hot but it ain’t going anywhere.

For anyone interested in Colony’s presentation at Le Web, the video is below. His remarks about social media begin around the 15-minute mark.

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