Sunday, 9 March 2008

Facebook losing its appeal

On 21st Feb 08 I reported that Facebook had seen a 5% decline in users between Dec 07 and Jan 08 – its first ever monthly decline, spurred me into analysing my own use.

I still check into Facebook once a day and usually update my status when I do. I have 115 friends – although I haven’t made any new friends in the last month. Only 4% of my friends update their status everyday (the 3 twitterers update multiple times per day!). Indeed only 13% update their status one or more times a week. The vast majority do not use that feature at all.

I went through all my friends and found 25% of them had no activity on their Profile page at all in the last month. Of course, I could have put that more positively by saying that 75% of my friends are clearly using Facebook regularly!

There seems to be a huge increase in the number of social/business networking sites. It seems like dozens of new ones in niche areas get launched everyday. For example headhunters, Heidricks & Struggles are about to launch an exclusive site for its ‘elite managers” – A Facebook for the seven-figure set – as Businessweek described it . “It will focus on CEOs, COOs, CFOs, and the marketing and tech chiefs who work by their sides. And it will be private—just for Heidrick clients and candidates”. On 27th Feb I commented on FT’s plans to launch a social networking site for TMT executives.

Do executives really want to belong to dozens of different networks?

Will they be willing to create profiles for each?

Will they login to them regularly?

A HotViews reader told me last week how the only messages he had received from one of the new networks he had joined were from other members trying to get him to join their newly created niche networks!

The answer (for me anyway) is to belong to one network which allows access to many mini/niche networks depending on my interests. If Mark Zuckerberg had taken note of my letter, “It could have been Facebook”.

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