Friday, December 23, 2011

Social Media fatigue

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


  1. I liked the article that also social media is not holy. It is just one more on our journey that never ends. I also see that my own visions on design and execution on design differ a lot and are heavenly influenced by society and the needs of society. 1 thing i think is very important that in an information overlow we have to deal with the information. The creator side also has to make it as clear as possile what they want from the consumer and what is in them from them. These things go back to the basics of everything just looking different. I many times have a discussion with co-interaction designers about designing for the mass. the fact that you are paid to create something and are so so much to create something totally different. The thought that people take the time to absorb media and ads is no longer here. But according to our needs we are open to a conversation (in the form of an add or whatever. It is like an old fashion market where everyone shouts at you that they have the best available deal. In the end consumer gets tired and buys nothing. also we want to be more involved in what we buy. Frequent flyer programs to involve people more. Why not for other products? Especially electronics which do have a lot of experience with them.

    Another thing is that online mobily we have to search for what we want. What if you make a profile with your niche interest on your desktop. On the road (and having an internet connection) the application tells you when you are close yo one of your niches. Or when its diner time, where you have profiled that on saturday you are interested in take aways.

    Like an intelligent guide who makes you offers based on your profile rather then you having to submit your request online and getting the right answer.

    It is like your Phone knowing what you want, where you want it and how. Based on your own profile made over time.

    I myself are always interested in Gelato PLaces just to check out the gelato icecream. If i would get a notification everytime one is near (especially one away from my hometown) it is very valuable for me and i would try it.

    I think mobiel is more a reading device then something where you create things. It is just not that comfortable to use.

    1. hi marc,
      thanks for your thoughtful reaction, and sorry it took so long before I answer. Blogger has a very subtle way of notifying me of reactions..

      I like the idea that our mobile devices and the apps they run could help us to have a smarter context and environment. if that's the case then maybe social media is just a stepping stone to take us in that direction. But I guess in the end you can also get sick and tired of push notification being triggered by the urban environment you are passing through. But I could certainly see how it could be very practical. Very recently I was actually in a situation where I wished it would work like that.


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