If you don't know Facebook is the hottest social media site in the US, where have you been? Whether or not you use it, I'll bet you've heard a lot about it. The Pew Internet & American Life Project statistics say that two-thirds (67 percent) of those Americans using the internet are using Facebook. Compare that to the 16 percent who are tweeting, and 20 percent who use LinkedIn, and it's easy to see why they are considered number one.
With Pew's newly released research report, Coming and Going on Facebook, users appear to have developed negative feelings towards the site for a variety of reasons. These dissatisfied users have either stopped using Facebook completely, or spending less and less time each week logging in to their account.
Not A Good Experience for Some
1,006 Americans aged 18+ were surveyed over the telephone in December of 2012. They discovered that 20 percent of those who said they do not use Facebook did, in fact, use at some point in the past. But why?
It is believed these users found something within the experience of Facebook itself that they did not enjoy, and decided it wasn't worth dealing with and deleted their accounts. The reasons vary widely: some say they weren't social enough; some felt there was a lack of privacy they just couldn't stomach; some didn't like the time it took away from their lives; and some felt it was too “gossipy.”
Give Me a Break
The survey also found that 61 percent of current Facebook users have taken a hiatus from the site for a few weeks or more. Pew took this segment and broke it down even further, and discovered that 20 percent of those who've taken a break from the site said they just didn't have enough time in the day to check in. 10 percent said they just didn't like the site, while another 10 percent said they felt it was a giant waste of their precious time.
If you can take anything positive for Facebook out of this, it is that people don't appear worried about their privacy (only 4 percent listed this as their reason). The bad news: it's obvious a large number of people find the site bad enough to take a break from. Yes, they come back eventually, but will that last forever?
Pew wondered what Facebook users felt about the time they spent on the site and how important this time is to them on a daily basis, both last year and this year. 59 percent of users said Facebook is just as important as it was last year, and 53 percent said the time they spend there is the same as well. However, 28 percent of users feel the site is less important now than it was a year ago, and 34 percent are seeing their time spent on the site declining throughout the past year.
On the upside, 12 percent of users said Facebook is more important to them personally than it was a year ago, and 13 percent said they are using it more than they were last year. Interestingly, it was found that women are more likely than their male counterparts to place a greater value on and invest more time on Facebook.
The Future for Facebook
69 percent of those users surveyed said they intend to stay right where they are in terms of usage over the next year. However, 27 percent said they plan to reduce the time they are on Facebook. A mere three percent intend to spend more time on the site in the year ahead.
It appears younger users become dissatisfied more easily, with 38 percent of users aged 18 to 29 saying they'll be spending less time on Facebook in 2013, and only one percent planning to increase usage. 26 percent of 30 to 49 year olds plan to increase their future Facebook time.
It's time for the site to figure out a way to satisfy more people. Zuckerberg should at least take comfort in the fact that 92 percent of all social networking site users maintain a Facebook account, whether or not they log in.