Is social media the new opium for the people? Are we getting addicted? At least our compulsion to continuously update status and tweeting has been responded to with some recent new signage; “in case of fire, please leave the building before tweeting about it” and “please look where you walk, don’t update your FB status now”. The social media moment; when somebody notices our presence and responds is addictive because it flatters our ego. It remains an odd feeling for one to be interrupted in real-life conversation because your partner has to instantly check reactions when a Twitter @mention flickrs on the smart phone, it can break relationships. Where do we live most? Social Media is our second life and our existence and response-rate has become vital to social inclusion in many circles. And with the new Timeline app to come, Facebook is promising to become our companion from birth to death, a digital red thread that records your important moments through your entire life. A sort of Museum of Me+.
But already the first signs of fatigue are surfacing. A recent study published by Gartner puts numbers to it; 31% of Aspirers (younger, more mobile, brand-conscious consumers) indicated that they were getting bored with their social networks. 24% of respondents stated that they are using the social sites less often compared to when they initial signed up, only a young and tech savvy group (37%) stated that they were using the sites more often compared to when they signed up.
Social media is also increasingly branded, which in many cases doesn’t add value to people’s social media experiences. Most people use the web for consumer research, and 54% of people admit that social media is a good place to learn about brands and products, shows a recent study by tnsdigitallife. TNS also talk about the digital waste, the pollution in the social media space caused by misguided brand presence. It leaves behind traces of dead or inactive social media pages; branded pages on Facebook or Google+ that don’t get updated anymore, probably because of the lack of a long term social media strategy by many brands and companies.
So we should not let ourselves be blinded by social media marketing, it will increasingly become difficult to catch the attention of the social media consumers, and the big question is who are they and will they be in the near future? We will need to innovate and diversify to keep their attention.
Published in edited form in Philips Design New Value News trends in December