The fastest growing segment on Facebook is the group aged 35-49. People are reconnecting with high school and college friends that they have lost touch with. Just type a name into Facebook, and you have a reasonably good chance of finding an old friend. You can see their updates and interactions between people you know – that can be cool. But you also see interactions between people you don’t know. This has zero interest to me. Also there are people reaching out to me who I have not been in touch with for more than 30 years. If we have not been in touch for 30 years it’s probably not because I could not find you. Nothing personal of course.
When it starts to become a responsibility to update your status or respond to a question somebody posed I predict the backlash effect will present FB with a big challenge. Oddly enough on Facebook if somebody asks you a question and you try to respond when they are not on line the question does not go through – this is apparently a design flaw that is being addressed. Right now it’s just aggravating. And aggravation is not a model for a good user experience.
We are still in the nascent stages of the social networking ‘revolution’. Right now it is cool to share photos and keep in touch with family and friends that live far away. I am enjoying staying in contact with my nieces and nephews as well as friends around the country and around the world for that matter. But I think I am beginning to get tired of all this connecting particularly when I am asked a direct question on FB. Maybe I am not on-line or maybe I don’t feel like typing a response on my Blackberry. And if I don’t feel like it I realize I just should not do it. Yet the person on the other side of the equation might perceive that as my ignoring them. Sure I could say I don’t care but that’s not really the case. Just like with the telephone – sometimes it rings and I don’t want to answer it even before I know who it might be. It does not mean I don’t care – just not then.
Being connected 24/7 has its advantages. But I believe that people (particularly this fast growing 35-49 segment are going to tire of the constant communication). For me the cool factor is wearing off. I don’t need 52 FB applications all seemingly about my top five of whatever. Who cares?
I think the pendulum has swung too far. How about you?
Where are the questions? As in if someone asks you a question over Facebook Chat? Also, I completely agree that we’ll have “social networking fatigue” in the near future. Facebook privacy controls and the public’s awareness/perception of them will be interesting to watch too.