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Social Media News - The Decline of Facebook

Is this the end?

Is Facebook in decline as the main social media website? Although the number of Facebook users is increasing and there are over 1.5 billion active Facebook users in the world (a 23% increase from March 2012) people are increasingly turning to other forms of social media as a way of socialising with friends, family and keeping up to date with the latest developments in the news and media. Facebook use is not declining because teenagers and young people are all going to one particular social network, but because they are turning to a selection of applications instead. What social media websites are people turning to in place of Facebook? And for what reasons are they choosing these sites over Facebook?

Alternative social networks are attracting the attention of social media users who are looking for a new and exciting way to socialise with their friends online. People have always found a thrill in trying out new things and this is no different for social media websites.

In the US and the UK most people who want to sign up for Facebook have already done so, and it is increasingly becoming a saturated market. However, newer social media platforms, such as Instagram, Snapchat and Vine have seen great increases in popularity especially among younger age groups. Facebook itself has noticed how there has been a decline in the time that is spent on its pages from those sitting in front of personal computers as people are switching to using their smartphones and tablets as a method of accessing social media websites. Therefore it is not surprising that people are also turning to new social media websites which have specifically been designed for use on phones and portable devices, as it allows them to update their profile whilst on the move and as the events happen. The increasing number of people with smartphones also means that people also tend to keep in contact with their friends by using instant messaging more. Smartphone apps like Snapchat and Whatsapp help to make this easier and mean that people need to keep in contact with their close friends via Facebook less.

Furthermore, there has been a decline in the amount of time which is spent on Facebook due to the people choosing to use more specific social media sites. For instance, the visual content posted in Facebook is often the most popular, gaining the most likes and the most shares. This has led to a greater number of people shifting to using specific sites for sharing images and videos, such as Instagram and Pinterest. In June 2013, Instagram added a new video feature to its app, which allows users to take up to fifteen seconds of video through the Instagram camera. The Instagram video feature is a competitor to Twitter’s video app, Vine, showing the popularity of new applications to enhance existing social media websites. These new developments in more recently created social media sites are keeping people entertained and is helping to draw in a new following of people who are bored of Facebook and are looking for something more visually appealing. It is no wonder that Facebook was keen to invest in Instagram and capitalise on the growing popularity of visual based social media sites.

It has been found that teenagers and young people are the main demographic who are shifting away from using Facebook as their main social media site. Teenagers in particular are progressively trying to find new social media sites which they can make their own – away from the prying eyes of their parents and other relatives who are now on Facebook.  Teenagers have therefore found a greater level of privacy by using other social media websites, and also have the option to create a username so that you do not have to be known by your actual name as you are on Facebook, as this would make you instantly more searchable.

Others are turning to different social media sites in an attempt to create exclusivity, and privacy away from the vast numbers of Facebook users. For instance, Path, a social media networking site, has focussed on a more personal approach to social networking stating that: “We believe it’s not your public, professional, or social life that matter most, it’s your personal life”. Their aim is for individuals to create a network in which you can only have 150 friends, creating an environment where you will only speak to the people you like and want to remain in contact with. They are creating a positive approach to exclusive social media networks stating that they believe in “Authenticity, Happiness, Simplicity”.

This links to the idea that Facebook is causing young people to feel a sense of dissatisfaction, as they are constantly receiving updates of what others are doing and therefore comparing their own lives to the constant influx of new photos, posts and comments which amplify the positive aspects of their friend’s lives and can elicit a feeling of envy. A recent study has concluded that the more its subjects used Facebook over a two-week period, the more their “life satisfaction levels” dropped. The move away from Facebook could therefore represent a subconscious acceptance of the way that constant use of this social media website can make you feel, and that a greater enjoyment can be felt by using Facebook less.

Although people may be using Facebook slightly less than previously, its power as the top social media website does not seem to be waning. Other social media websites may provide new and exciting ways to engage with friends and find out updates on news and media but Facebook is still the most significant platform which people use to connect with others.

What do you think?

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Social Media News - The Decline of Facebook Reviewed by Anonymous on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 Rating: 5
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