An article posted by ComputerWorld earlier this week outlined a few reasons why they believe social networking is dead. Among the reasons why, the author mentioned the networking aspect had been replaced by messaging, online distractors, and social media. To get an in-depth analysis of these categories, you can find the article here.
While we agree social networking (personal posting) has taken a drastic nose dive in the past 4 years, there are a few factors attributing to this decline the author failed to include. And the few omitted I believe to be the most pertinent and potent points leading to this decline.
- Adapt to Survive
Previous social platforms created solely for social networking were few and far between. Not only that, but due to the time period in which they were created/released, they were all relegated to a web browser foundation.
Myspace, leading the charge, was king for about 4-5 years. That was one of the few places where you could really post about personal content, and that’s what people came to not only expect, but eagerly looked for. You could be part of your friends’ Top 7, start friendships with rando’s you just so happened to see in a mutual interest forum, and try your hand at the beginners guide to coding, while changing the appearance of your page.
Myspace was a purely social networking site, but they never changed. And because they didn’t adapt or change their recipe, they became obsolete. The marketplace expanded, changed, evolved—and they Blockbuster’d it. So before we claim social networking is over, should we take a second to analyze if that’s what we even WANT anymore?
1a. The platforms themselves change.
By the time the app marketplace was released, Myspace was already dead in a ditch, and Facebook the usurper had taken over. Popularity grew due to exclusivity, the birth of mobile connectivity, ease of use (bye bye, coding and customizability!), and a certain je ne sais quoi. But even this giant thrived for the standard 4-5 years before changing their 11 herbs and spices.
Facebook is no longer geared toward social networking because they force the paid content, ads, and videos to the top of your feed. They altered news feed algorithms so you don’t even receive 10% of your friends posted content. THEY don’t want it to be about social networking, so naturally as the sheep we are, we don’t either.
- Age of the Average User
Studies find that at least 63% of all Facebook users are within retirement age. Though certainly not all of those people are retired, the ones that are have quite a bit more time to post pictures and stories of their personal lives, rather than the 73 – 87% posting on behalf of their job/brand.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…Millennials blah blah blah. High school and college-aged students are far more likely to post content directly related to, or of their personal lives because…that’s all they know. That IS their world. They don’t have nuggets of wisdom to share about the workforce, work trends, and place a lower priority concerning becoming a hirable thought-leader. But that’s just a small corner of the market.
But as the early-adopters of this platform, mobile adaptivity/apps, and social networking/media in general…we’re ready to move on. Technology advances in an S pattern, so we cannot stay where we are. If social is declining, find the next wave, and market on that. The key is to be ahead of the curve. Easier said than done, but them’s the brakes.
What are your thoughts on social networking? Here to stay? Or a sneeze away from the grave?