Social media is supposed to be red-hot, right? Not so fast. According to a pair of recent articles, two of the giants of social media may have trouble ahead.
Although Anna tweets (as do dozens of other people I like or admire), I’ve never been a big fan of Twitter. In certain cases, it can be quite effective. The post-election Iranian protests are perhaps the most potent example, and some businesses have also put it to good use.
But personally, I just can’t get into Twitter. There are enough distractions in my life – I don’t need a constant stream of tweets to make things even worse.
Over on Slate.com’s The Big Money, I have an ally in Mark Gimein. He posits that Twitter is “in danger of collapsing under its own weight.” Why?
“The volume of material that Twitter unleashes now puts impossible demands on its users’ time and attention. The problem, in a nutshell, is information overload. The more Twitter grows and the more feeds Twitterers follow, the harder it gets to mine it for what is truly useful and engaging.”
Gimein goes on to cite his personal experience. Each of his followers on Twitter typically follows 200 feeds; one ambitious soul follows over 3,000. How can marketers expect to break through all that noise, a situation that will only worsen in the years ahead? You got me.
Meanwhile, Virginia Heffernan on nytimes.com notes that “while people are still joining Facebook and compulsively visiting the site, a small but noticeable group are fleeing – some of them ostentatiously.”
Heffernan identifies a number of reasons for the departures. Some users are disgusted with Facebook’s growing commercialization. Others are unnerved by the privacy concerns. Still others have decided to stop wasting so much time posting and checking status updates.
Is Facebook about to face a mass exodus? I’d hate to think so. However, Heffernan’s article is enough to make you wonder whether Facebook is late 1990s-era Whitney Houston – on top, but about to enter a long, slow decline into irrelevance.
Do you think Twitter and Facebook have become a bore? Have other forms of social media sparked your interest? Let us know.