In the news
A flurry of traditional media, including The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, have all produced recent features on the emergence of a Facebook backlash, with some demographics opting not to join while others dramatically cut back their use.
1. A recent Reuters-Ipsos poll found 34% of Facebook users surveyed spent less time on the website than six months ago, while 20% spent more.
2. A new report from comScore found Facebook's US growth rate slowed to 5% in April, down from 24% in April 2011 and 89% in April 2010, though at 158 million American users, it's still impressive.
3. Facebook reports that 83 million of its users access the site only through their mobile devices.
Why does it matter?
Can more than 900 million users really be wrong? When it comes to Facebook, probably not. Despite some growing pains, including an IPO that disappointed many and concerns over how it plans to monetize all the private-user information it has gathered, the Mark Zuckerberg-founded social media site still reaches far too many people to be ignored.
"It's tough to say Facebook is less popular when they're almost at a billion people," notes social media expert and American University public communication professor Scott Talan. "But when you get that large it's tough to satisfy everyone to the same degree you did before. When it comes to social media, Facebook is like breakfast - you want breakfast, but you also want other meals and you might snack. There's a whole lot you want to do on social media and Facebook will be part of that, but it may not be the whole thing."
Talan adds his media-savvy students are now augmenting Facebook with other social media channels, but stresses, "PR professionals who ignore Facebook do so at their own peril and it has to be for specific reasons that are agreed on by the client - and I don't think that's going to happen too often."