Thursday, 21 February 2008

Facebook suffers first monthly user decline in UK

Is Facebook finally losing its glow? asks The Times as Facebook records its first ever decline (down 5%) in users between Dec 07 and Jan 08. Mind you they still have 8.5m users and are therefore 3.5m ahead of second placed MySpace (which also declined 5%).

The majority of my friends will no doubt shout "I told you so" at me. I think that is a bit premature. Moving from Dec to Jan is a funny time of year anyway - I'd wait for a month or so to see the real trends.

On the other hand, people I know get bored with Facebook for a number of reasons:

- they stop getting new friends
- they get fed up with the apps and ads
- they get fed up the puerility of it all (I mean, I really don't want to know that "X has thrown a rat at Y")
- they (particularly me) get fed up with the Twitterers
- they find that they don’t live happily alongside other Facebook ‘friends’. As in “Why should I belong to a social network that my Boss/Grandma/ex-boyfriend/Teacher/son/grandson belongs to?” (Actually I find Facebook appealing BECAUSE of the wide range of ages and backgrounds of my ‘friends’ – maybe they don’t feel the same way!)

Of course, the moment you stop checking in once a day, the value of Facebook not only declines for you – but for your friends too. So it’s a spiral.

If the appeal of Facebook is declining, one of the reasons is that Mark Zuckerberg both didn’t answer and, much more importantly, didn't take any action as a result of my Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg last year. In it I asked him to set up different access scenarios for different types of ‘friends’. So that those I classed as ‘business’ could only see my business bits, ‘friends’ only the friends' bits and ‘family’ could only see the family bits and so on. That would allow my daughter to do/say what she liked with her friends; safe in the knowledge that I would never find out.

It seemed a pretty simple amendment to me. Maybe I should send him another letter?

Anyone got his email address because he doesn’t reply to Facebook messages!

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