Facebook Fatigue: You Betcha!

TechCrunch posts about traffic dips at Facebook in the US (based on comScore data). And much was written earlier about similar declines in the UK. The declines are not big, and could be seasonal, but also potentially suggestive of growth leveling off.

My big issue with Facebook is that it’s not useful. I mean that in a very specific way. Aside from one or two apps, or sometimes one-to-many communication, there’s not a lot that is accomplished via Facebook. This is why I had expected Facebook to add Microsoft Live Search (so that one could search the Web from Facebook). That has yet to happen.

Compare Facebook “utility” to that of a search engine. One uses the latter to accomplish practical tasks multiple times a day. By comparison Facebook is still about novelty and entertainment in most cases.

And the novelty of comparing myself to all my friends, taking snarky quizzes, remembering how rock stars died and so on has gotten old.

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15 Responses to “Facebook Fatigue: You Betcha!”

  1. Bob Armour Says:

    Greg-
    I couldn’t agree more. Additionally, I’m tired of getting annoying emails from friends that highlight their activities, group building, and game playing on Facebook. Facebook-activity spam (“faspam”) is bringing me down.
    Bob

  2. Local SEO Guide Says:

    Greg,

    I think you’re just jealous because Ari Jacoby beat you out in the “Who’s sexier” comparison.

  3. Jenkins Says:

    I agree. I think Facebook is overrated and doesn’t deserve the valuation it received from Microsoft. It will likely go the way of other “once hot” social sites.

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Andrew: You’ve unmasked me!

  5. troy Says:

    Greg, bang on. Sites that are more or less for amusement and novelty are hard to monitize. The irony is that sites like Facebook and Myspace have created an on-line “private club” which attacted millions but now want to open it up to the dirty hands of capitalism.

  6. Mike Says:

    As hard as I try I just don’t get Facebook. I go there and I find myself asking what is there to do ‘here’?
    I have tried to advertise my services on a limited basis and I get nothing, no clicks, no interest. The classifieds I’ve run deliver a fair share of the scammers from London specifically, not Nigeria, oddly.

    I have found MySpace creeping back on to the radar. I await their self serve PPC platform to arrive. Maybe they will produce better responses.

    I do believe big brands, via banner ads are finding satisfaction on FB. Maybe this will keep them afloat. At the moment I would not assign a $15b. valuation to the model.

  7. Greg Sterling Says:

    Agreed that FB is a reasonable brand/awareness vehicle for those trying to reach its demographic.

  8. Jeff Tadie Says:

    Like many SEM Agencys/Sls teams….we’ve talked to thousands of local businesses….and I don’t recall a single instance where a local business has asked or openly cared about FB, or MS for that matter. If they can’t get any traction on SMB ad dollars…and nat’l brands (for the most part) are skiddish due to on-the-edge content…what’s the model? Social like FB and MS may be over.

  9. Greg Sterling Says:

    But some SMBs have set up pages on MySpace. I think it’s premature to say “it’s over,” but they’re certainly not appearing to deliver for advertisers as promised.

  10. Laurence Hooper Says:

    Facebook is as useful (or not) as the applications on it. And that’ll be very useful, over time. When an application knows who your friends are, it can do qualitatively new things — useful things. All these movie quizzes, growing plants and zombies are just early experiments; their developers (and users) are learning how virality works, for better and for worse, in a socially connected world. Whether on FB, MySpace or elsewhere, the next step is to apply this learning to something less frivolous.

    To me, the big question isn’t whether Facebook is useful right now, but whether it *can* be useful. I believe the answer will look very obvious in retrospect.

  11. Scott Wyffels Says:

    Facebook is every bit as useful as email for everyone under 25. In some cases it replaces email all together for this age group. I rarely send emails to friends through email anymore because of Facebook and I am 27.

    So if you want to call the 3rd party applications bad, fine.

    But, do you really you want to call a tool that automatically updates addresses, birthdays, and contact information of all my friends not useful? Shares pictures of all my friends? A tool that works just like evite, but isn’t filled with advertisements and again, automatically updates all my friends addresses?

    So, you really have to step back and look at this thing through the right glasses.

  12. Greg Sterling Says:

    I’m over 40 so there’s a bit of a generational difference there. I acknowledge what you say about it being a useful one-to-many communication tool. But it has not yet evolved into something really useful beyond that or for a broader group (than 16-24 or so).

  13. Scott Wyffels Says:

    But, generational as Facebook is….

    The age group is not soon to grow out of this type of communication. There is a better chance that they will grow with it.

    If you put faith in comScore numbers, only 40% of Facebook’s audience is in the 12-24 age.

    So will the professional/business 24-55 group grow?

    I have said to people, if Facebook somehow bridged the gap between Facebook users and email users they could have something that might replace email as we know it. If someone outside the walls of facebook could email me into my Facebook account… I might have little use for my personal email address.

    I really think of Facebook as a platform. Maybe a suite of internet applications like Microsoft as to the PC. Instead it is kinda like email, evite, flickr, and personal message board system. The only problem is that nearly every application not put out by Facebook is somewhat to very crappy.

    I think it will be interesting to see what comes next.

  14. Greg Sterling Says:

    LinkedIn performs that functional already for many people in the “professional” segment. And though it’s not as “versatile” as FB there isn’t as much noise there either.

  15. Facebook Still Mostly About Silly Fun « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] Facebook isn’t a threat to Google unless or until it becomes more “useful” (on Screenwerk and SEL). Users in demos younger than me scoff and find Facebook useful as a communications and [...]

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