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Facebook Struggle Against 21% Decline in 'Original Sharing'

Life Hacker
When was the last time you posted a status update on Facebook? Not a shared link, or a check-in, or a photo, but just a status update? I just checked my timeline, my last one was December 2nd of last year. It's just not the done thing anymore, Facebook has gradually shifted away from being the personal platform that it used to be, and it's doing them more harm than you might think.

They've been making efforts to turn this around, but as stated above, personal updates have dipped by 21% across their entire 1.6 billion strong user base. Why is this happening? It's not immediately clear, but it's been theorised that the amount of corporate and promotional content on there has damaged the personal appeal. It doesn't feel like an intimate place to interact with your friends anymore, more like walking through Time Square on a busy Saturday.

This was the fate of MySpace, Bebo and Friendster, they all grew too large and too commercial to maintain that intimacy, and people migrated elsewhere. Facebook is, of course, far bigger and more accomplished than any of those sites even came close to being, but that doesn't mean that they're immune to a similar exodus, if a more gradual, less fatal one.

The thing that keeps Facebook ticking along isn't the amount of sharing, but the amount of time spent on the platform, not doing anything in particular. Monthly active users turn into daily active users at a pretty alarming rate, even if engagement levels might peak and trough. Most of the content that you scroll through nowadays can be found elsewhere, so if someone figures out a way to curate it better, Facebook really will be in trouble, since the only content it can lay a unique claim to is the personal content, ie the stuff people are posting less often.

The platform is so overtly public now that people can't treat it like a private forum between friends anymore, which has fundamentally changed the way they approach it. From a professional point of view, it's only gaining ground, and users don't have to post any of their own content to feed the analytics machine, but the personal touch was a big, fundamental factor in the site's early appeal, and with it fading, figures might start to plateau. Facebook have done a great deal to expand themselves beyond just the main platform, so it's possible that they've always known it might have a maximum life-expectancy. The real question is, if people start finding a new place to share content with their friends, where will it be?

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Facebook Struggle Against 21% Decline in 'Original Sharing' Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, April 08, 2016 Rating: 5

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