Is social networking sites losing its charm?

There are signs of maturity in the social media market,
as some users in certain segments are showing social media fatigue”, according
to a survey by Gartner.


The survey reveals continued localization of
usage, whereby certain country-specific social characteristics dictate
preferences.However, large global brands such as Facebook are making headway in
countries where they have not historically been strong.


Overall, our survey underlined respondents’
continued enthusiasm for social media. Teenagers and those in their twenties
were significantly more likely to say that they had increased their usage,
while at the other end of the ‘enthusiasm spectrum’, the age-related
differences were much less marked, with fairly consistent percentages saying
that they were using social media less,” said
Charlotte Patrick,
principal research analyst at Gartner.  


Of the respondents, 24 percent said they use
their favorite social media site less than when they first signed up. These
respondents tended to be in segments that have a more practical view of
technology. But 37 percent of respondents, particularly those in younger age
groups and more tech-savvy segments, said they were using their favorite site


The trend shows some social media fatigue among early adopters,
and the fact that 31 percent 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.


Branded content needs to be kept fresh and
must be able to capture people’s attention instantly. The new generation of
consumers is restless and short on attention span, and a lot of creativity is
needed to make a meaningful impact,” Blau added. 


Gartner analysts also examined whether the
type of social media site respondents used affected their enthusiasm. Given
that 24 percent of respondents indicated that they were using their main social
site a little less” or a lot less” than when they first started using it,
respondents were asked what negative factors might be influencing their


Although none of the options given to the
respondents resonated extremely highly, 33 percent said they were concerned
about online privacy.

Attitudes to privacy were also age-related,
with teenagers citing privacy concerns significantly less often than older
respondents (22 percent of teenagers agreed or strongly agreed that privacy
concerns were decreasing their enthusiasm, against an average of 33 percent).


The level of consumer concern around privacy
will require ongoing vigilance for brands
concerning customer opt-in
and education. Lessons should be learned from the likes of Facebook as they
test the boundaries of consumer tolerance in search of more revenue.


From a geographical point of view, some of
the more mature social media markets Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. corresponded
to the global average trend with roughly 40 percent of respondents using the
site more than when they first started, 40 percent using it the same amount,
and 20 percent using it less.

Markets where enthusiasm was higher included
South Korea and Italy, where nearly 50 percent of respondents said they used
their social media sites more. At the other end of the spectrum, countries with
the most respondents saying they used the site less included Brazil and Russia
both with between 30 and 40 percent of respondents exhibiting less enthusiasm.


surveyed 6,295 respondents, between the ages of 13 and 74, in 11
developed and developing markets in December 2010 and January 2011. Consumers
were asked about their use of and opinions about social media sites with the
aim of examining usage trends and how enthusiastic users were about social
media in general across a range of countries.


By Team

[email protected]