Social Networking Trends

Watching the statistics around social networking in Australia is seeing some very interesting trends. In the six months to January Australian’s spent 21% less time on Facebook. Don’t get confused, Facebook still accounts for just over half the time spent on social networking sites. But a 21% decrease is actually a significant change. Particularly considering that it’s one site that really most people are permanently logged into which can skew figures. Now the reasearch covered fixed line and wi-fi connections but not 3G, so maybe it just means more people are using their mobiles which would make sense.

In saying this though there are other trends in Australia that do show some change in user behaviour. Australian’s are starting to take up Tumblr with the site’s Australian hits increasing as well as use of Google+. However the fastest growing site at the moment is photo sharing site Pinterest. The other change is it appears there is some waning in Instagram which has traditionally been the user choice for photo sharing. However usage of Instagram is ever increasing in the Asian market.

Maybe the decrease in FB is purely a shift to mobile but other data suggests not. No it’s not the death of FB, just that at points in it’s lifespan there needs to be leveling out. As people become more accepting of FB as a part of every day life there is less need to visit it constantly. There is definitely times when the fatigue of being attached to FB does end up causing reduced usage but whether that becomes permanent is something time will tell.

Over time there will always be new avenues to communicate whether it be with alternative sites such as Google+ which with a little more work I would prefer or micro-blogging sites such as Tumblr or even Twitter which is at present the most interesting for me. Things like Instagram will come and go as new competitors gain interest like Pinterest and that’s life.

There is no doubt that FB will be here for a while yet but I’m not sure it will remain in it’s current form. It’s a communication tool that keeps people connected, but even I spend less time directly on FB. I post things to FB from third party sites and apps but actually spend way less time physically on the site. the reason is I really don’t care to know what everyone is doing every second of the day. There is no doubt there are dangers with being faced with everyone’s lives constantly (and the reality is it’s only other peoples lives as they want you to know truth or lies).

I think what I would like to see as I’ve mentioned in previous posts would be a single customisable site where I can integrate all the social sites into one space. Where I can go to one place for a catch up or one place to post to all at the same time. There are some apps and sites that do this in some form or another but I’m yet to find one that handles everything I want. I believe it will happen one day.

The key with social networking is to see it as a form of entertainment only and remember real life is more important and should get more of your time and emotional energy. Social networking sites are only an element of your life and if you find yourself constantly spending time on them then maybe it’s time for a break.