Are We Slowly Getting Tired Of Being Obsessed With Facebook?

The Facebook juggernaut appears to be lumbering along at a slower pace, maybe because we’ve all suddenly realized that in-person relationships are also valuable. Or it’s more likely that almost everyone who is going to join Facebook is already on it, which makes it harder to grow. And those of us on Facebook are spending less time on it, to boot.

ComScore says the number of visitors rose 5% in April from a year earlier, which is a lot less than the 24% uptick it saw in that same month in 2011, reports Bloomberg News. Seems Facebook might be finally saturating its market.

The average time spent by each visitor on Facebook rose 16%, which is down from the 23% increase a year before.

This is big news for Facebook, as it gets half of its revenue from the U.S. and Canada. Less visitors spending less time might seem like a bad sign for its business. But it’s not like it’s unusual for its growth to slow down, as ComScore’s Andrew Lipsman points out, it’s to be “expected given Facebook’s current size and market penetration.”

The day there are no baby pictures uploaded on Facebook will be the day things are really over. Given the pace of “Look at Junior eating cereal again (his favorite!)” posts, that day is probably never going to arrive.

Facebook Audience Growth Slows To 5%, ComScore Reports [Bloomberg]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Costner says:

    Yes…. next question.

    • dangermike says:

      oooh, so close. I’m sorry, but the answer we were looking for was “No, not slowly.”

      Don Pardo, could you please tell Costner what he didn’t win?

  2. kelcema says:

    Anyone else been watching their stock price? IPOs at $38… right now, it’s $27.64. (Of course, it’s up 61¢ today, though…)

  3. Pete the Geek says:

    I find the new “Timeline” layout difficult to follow on other peoples’ pages and therefore I spend less time read and commenting on them.

    • Gambrinus says:

      Yeah, I don’t get what’s supposed to be so great about Timeline. I remember when it was first announced, a lot of sites were like, “OMG this is so cool!” and I was like, “Huh? Shouldn’t the wall just be, you know, a list of stuff the person does in the order it happens?” It’s yet another example of Facebook thinking their “We decide which one of your friends’ posts are important to you!” algorithm is something other than complete garbage.

      But hey, the cover photos are nice.

  4. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    I kind of hope so. I hate that people are using facebook as a social crutch.

    I hate that conversations seem to be going like this:
    “So what have you been up to lately?”
    “If you read my facebook, you wouldn’t have to ask.”

    Seriously? I’ve been told that I don’t care about my friends because I don’t read their facebook. I’ve been told that it’s a “social obligation” to use facebook, and that if I’m out of the loop, no one is obliged to fill me in. This actually makes me even more stubbornly against it. :/

    • bluline says:

      There have been suggestions that not only is Facebook a social obligation, those who aren’t on it should be viewed with suspicion because they obviously have something nefarious to hide. That’s about the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever seen, but apparently some people believe it.

      • Coffee says:

        I’m not on Facebook. Of course, I’m a child murderer, so there you are.

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        Yeah. I mean, I don’t really have anything to hide. I’m fairly introverted, fairly shy, and I have always had an interest in keeping my personal life private while online.

        I think I have put four pictures of myself onto the internet, ever. XD

      • Here to ruin your groove says:

        Took a marketing studies course and I was the only one. Professor tried to turn this into some sort of odd case study and quizzed me in front of the class.

        Professor: “Why would you not want a Facebook account??”
        Me: What I do is none of your damn business.

        • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

          Nice answer!

        • incident_man says:

          +1 zillion.

        • sagodjur says:

          “Why would you not want a Facebook account??”

          Because I didn’t go to my 10 year high school reunion for a reason.

          Because it’s difficult not to hold it against old friends when most of their posts are about how Obama is a socialist.

          Because I have more authentic interactions with the fewer friends I have on Google+, just like the old days of the internet before the MySpace/Facebook crowds showed up in droves like so many AOL users before them and saturated the internet with their facades.

          • Coffee says:

            I like the cut of your jib. E-mail addy is in my profile if you want to circle me on G+. I’m not on Facebook, btw ;)

          • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

            As far as I know, my class didn’t even have a 10-year-reunion.

            I graduated in 2000, and didn’t hear anything, despite my family still living in the house and my younger brother attending the same school I attended. XD

            But even if I had heard something, I can’t remember the name of anyone I went to high school with, except a girl in my history class who gave me a ride to graduation rehearsal.

  5. Coffee says:

    But it’s not like it’s unusual for its growth to slow down, as ComScore’s Andrew Lipsman points out, it’s to be “expected given Facebook’s current size and market penetration.”

    Once Facebook started pressing up against the market’s cervix, the market finally had to admit that additional penetration was pointless and Facebook should instead focus on improving the quality of its product. Sometimes size and penetration aren’t everything.

    • Costner says:

      “Sometimes size and penetration aren’t everything.”


      ~Michael Scott

    • ferozadh says:

      Offer more value-added services. Get hands on, Facebook! Word of mouth only goes so far.

  6. Invader Zim says:

    Maybe we will get lucky and facebook will have reached it pinacle and be on its way down. Really I could live without ever hearing the word or words “face book” again. yuck.

  7. PunditGuy says:

    “And those of us on Facebook are spending less time on it, to boot.”

    “The average time spent by each visitor on Facebook rose 16%”

    Major fail. A decrease in the deltas doesn’t equate to a decrease in values. It’s rising at a slower pace, but still rising.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      That’s how businesses function, against every single fibre of logic which might be found anywhere in the universe.

      There’s nothing quite like listening to a manager talk about how badly the business is failing and how all the salespeople are complete fuck-ups because revenues haven’t risen at a faster rate than they did last quarter, while completely ignoring all economic conditions.

      We’re going to have a zombie apocalypse, the population of the world will be decimated, and these people will still be yammering on about how the numbers for the quarter aren’t up enough.

  8. samonela says:

    Facebook longevity*

    *See: Myspace**

    **See: Geocities

  9. Blueskylaw says:

    Once Facebook signs up everyone on the planet; what’s left? They will need to grow bigger and bigger in order to satisfy Wall Street’s unsatiable appetite for profits which, of course, will be impossible. They will then begin to try and squeeze more and more out of you until you finally tell them to go blank themselves and cancel your account.

  10. Sad Sam says:

    Facebook is a tool and it works great to keep up with my farflung friends and family (I am only FB friends with family and close friends, so my FB friends number is about 50). I do think that so many people are on it and its such a part of life these days that it would be hard to get everyone to switch to some other tool. As such I don’t see it going the way of myspace and I might buy stock in it at some point, when it gets low enough.

    I don’t really care for the timeline set up which may be turning some people off. I just find it very hard to navigate. And I have noticed that some of the early adopters, the people who were telling me to use for years, are not on it as often as they used to be.

  11. El_Fez says:

    Slowly? Not I – I quickly became tired of Facebook years ago.

  12. dush says:

    How is 5% more people spending 16% more time equal to less visitors spending less time?

  13. energynotsaved says:

    I still check FB daily. I like it because I’ve gotten into contact with friends from long ago. It is nice. That said, I’m careful of what I post. I have real concerns about my privacy.

    I also tried to talk a couple of my friends out of buying the IPO. It looked like the price was too high and the future was bleak.

    I’m waiting for the next big thing.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Me too, except I’m getting really sick of all the posts like “My dog died today. Then my uncle Fred died. We’re all very happy he has gone to Jesus. Praise the Lord! So happy happy slaphappy positivity wwwarrrggrrbbbbllllle!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

      The kid ones I don’t mind because 1) only the people I know who have kids I actually like are on there, and 2) lots of times they’re kinda funny.

      • lettucefactory says:

        Yes, that’s a good point. I see the phrase “I am so blessed,” or some variation on it, way more than seems healthy. It’s great when people have positive attitudes, and an entire facebook of cynical folks bitching would get on my nerves, but it gets to a point where you wonder what is REALLY going on with some people that they feel the need to reassure themselves (and you) over and over again that everything is perfect.

        • drjayphd says:

          Yeah, the hide button gets to be really useful after high school friends (who suddenly became turbo-religious in the intervening years) start praising sweet zombie Jeebus for even the most minute of things, like being able to get their dishwasher fixed. I’m all for whatever gets people through the day, but at some point, you’ve really got to give the human race a LITTLE credit.

  14. FilthyHarry says:

    Oh yeah. Once I got all plugged in I realized I was beginning to dislike people I had up to that point, liked, due to their stream of mental diarrhea of opinions or boasting of their children’s latest cute utterance. So I quit then created a new fake fb account just for commercial purposes.

  15. CrankyOwl says:

    I saw “The Social Network” last weekend & thought it was pretty funny that in it, Zuckerberg made a snarky comment about the type of advertisers FB was getting early on, like tuxedo rentals – but now FB is littered with “50 year-old mom looks 30” shlocky ads.

    • ferozadh says:

      The Social Network is a work of fiction, written by people whose only concept of the Intarweb is a bunch of tubes tied together. It’s tabloid entertainment raised to the level of art by a competent visual director.

  16. James says:

    I like Facebook for events. Since everybody uses it it’s a nice summary of stuff going on.

    I like it for life “highlights” – vacations, weddings, cool adventures.

    Everything else is worthless. (banal updates, photos of food, and posts about the days of the week.)

  17. allen says:

    I personally don’t think Facebook is ever going to fail a la myspace, but thats because about 25% has gotten to be an invaluable tool for people to use. I see it happening more like a crappy email service (hotmail/yahoo), where they are certainly not dead, in fact i have a few accounts on those. However, its only my gmail thats tied into the mail program on my desktop.

    I really believe that once the rest of the 75% of fluff on FB dies down, there will still be people on it, but not with the same attention that people are giving it now.

    just my 2 cents, though.

  18. VintageLydia says:

    I’m getting tired of facebook because so many of my friends just post updates on their children. Dude, I’m friends with you, and your son is adorable and I’m sure pretty great, but you used to post things about yourself every now and then and I kind of miss it. And now that I’m brewing up my own spawn, I’m resisting posting on facebook about it at all. I told family and I’m telling friends when I see or talk to them that I’m pregnant, but I have people MAD at me because I didn’t post it on Facebook to get the dozens of “CONGRATS!” by people I haven’t spoken to since high school. Seriously.

    Funny enough, I’m more open about my life to people I’ve never met in real life but somehow became friends with because they actually make an effort to talk with me on a daily basis. People who make the effort to talk to and/or see me regularly EVEN IF I’VE NEVER ACTUALLY MET THEM deserve to know what’s going on in my life than some douchebag I’m “friends” with on Facebook only because of the social repercussions of unfriending anyone is.

    • Coffee says:

      Awww…we love you too, Lydia. Especially now that your baby hormones give you license to make crazy rants on the internet.

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      Ditto. My FB news feed looks like a baby book. From ultrasound to every year of child development — I think pediatricians should start utilizing it. I get that they are excited being preggo or some pics of the newborn, but if I see one more ” at weeks”, I’m gonna go nuts.

      • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

        *** EDIT BUTTON PLS ***
        … “[baby name] at [x] weeks” …

    • drjayphd says:

      Precisely. Once people have kids, at least in my experience, that’s ALL they ever post. Their pictures, status updates, everything is about their kids and nothing is about them. It’s almost like they totally forgot they exist just because they’ve reproduced.

  19. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Facebook waited too long for IPO revenue. Their arch of popularity has about hit it’s peak.

  20. Outrun1986 says:

    Facebook used to be good but now its turned to total crap. If I want to see my friend’s updates I have to go to their specific pages which I am not going to remember to do. Before all of that was filtered into my news feed and I could see it simply by scrolling. Also there is too much micro-management, if I want to see someone’s stuff, I have to “subscribe” to them, this might mean I have to make over 100 clicks just to subscribe to all my friends so that I am sure their updates make it into my newsfeed since its not automatic anymore. I still don’t see the important stuff, so I do miss stuff when everyone else knows about it, because for some reason certain things don’t make it into my newsfeed. This makes facebook fairly useless. The timeline is a disaster, organizing things into 2 columns makes it very hard for me to follow everyone. If the timeline wasn’t split up into 2 columns it would be fine. Also the timeline doesn’t put the most recent stuff first, you have to tell it to do that once you visit the page, just one more unnecessary step. It also makes visiting corporate pages a disaster as I have no idea what is on them anymore since the side menu with the list of tabs on their page is gone.

  21. Kuri says:

    My only problem with Facebook is it being a damn lynchpin as to weather to not someone gets hired. Whatever happened to a company not being responsible for it’s workers off hours?

  22. duncanblackthorne says:

    For the last several months I spend exactly 0% of my day on Facebook because I had them delete my account.

  23. shthar says:

    That’s the trouble with marketing to 13 year old girls.

    Eventually, they grow up.

  24. Jemaine says:

    Dont forget Facebook is being heavily integrated into iOS 6 for those with iPhones. I have my facebook set up for my eyes only (or they say so anyways) there’s really only one friend I keep up with face to face, but lately she just uses it to promote her tupperware parties or whatever. I don’t like people up in my business. My family should be called Facebook. They think they should know everything like Facebook thinks.

  25. PunditGuy says:

    Just having “You Don’t Know Jack” back is reason enough to log in to Facebook. Every. Damn. Day.

  26. lettucefactory says:

    I’ve lived in several different states, and for the better part of a decade I had a robust internet social life, too. My family is also a bit spread out. Facebook is the one way I have to keep vaguely in touch with all those people from all of those places. I kind of love it for that.

    But I don’t spend a lot of time there. Especially lately, because it shows me updates from the same 5 or 10 people and ignores the entire rest of my friends list. I know I can click on everyone’s profile and ask that I see all of that person’s updates, but that is a pain in the ass and it doesn’t always work, anyway.

    And the food pictures! Somehow I’m always looped in on those, though I doubt I’ve ever “liked” anybody’s lunch. For the love of God. If I’m not about to personally put that food in my mouth, I absolutely do not care what it looks like. Not even a little bit. And in fact, in annoys me so much I am starting to think I should charge people money for the hassle of looking at their stupid food pictures.

  27. BradenR says:

    Doesn”t the obsession to be on or access facebook, twitter, blogs, texting, emails constantly say a great deal about the American psyche and the inability to be alone? It must be odd to think you don’t exist unless you are constantly connected to someone.

  28. karlmarx says:

    I would say the timeline is drawing people away.

  29. karlmarx says:

    I would say the timeline is drawing people away.

  30. SilentAgenger says:

    I sometimes work with a marketing department composed mainly of technology-worshiping 20 & 30-somethings. Earlier this year they were all excited about starting a media project that promoted social networking, and specifically called for imagery that mimicked Facebook. My job was to organize the graphics, and while the initial drafts of this project were well received, the department recently took a sudden and significant shift away from it’s desire to be associated with anything resembling Facebook. I heard comments like “I never go on Facebook anymore” and “Facebook is the new MySpace”. The mood could not have been more night & day from what it was 3 months ago. I suspect it had a lot to do with the negative press regarding the whole Facebook stock thing.