Facebook Fatigue?

I wanted to reach out to a friend of mine in Israel from B-school days with a question. I couldn’t recall how we had lost traded contact so I thought I would pop up on his Facebook page first and see what he was up to and connect to him that way.

To my surprise, despite having nearly 200 friends and at one time a regular communication stream, he hadn’t posted anything meaningful yet this year.  I quick realized that THIS wasn’t going to be the way to get him so instead I sent him an email (how old-fashioned!).

When I asked if he was “over” the FB experiment, this was  his reply: “Facebook? yes, kind of exhausted this part. and am swamped with work…”

This got me thinking. I thought back to a few of my other active FB friends and noticed that the updates and pictures were coming slower than before it seemed. I also remembered a meeting with our European marketing leaders where I proudly announced the “beta release” of our Ness  Facebook page which was met with polite blank stares. I followed up by asking how many of the 6 people in the room were using FB… not a single one.

Is true Facebook Fatigue upon us?  A quick Google search on the term shows much written on the topic in early 2008. Since then, active users have  nearly doubled! So much for that theory.  Surely I have a few friends who are posting more than ever before, and a few more where that is the only way I can get in touch with them, but it does make me wonder if we are approaching some sort of tipping point.

And if we are, what will that mean for marketers? We still haven’t figured out how to use FB as a channel with any great reliability, and yet it has completely remade how we think about reaching our target audiences. What takes its place? Or are we doomed to be chasing around the latest hot thing only to have it fade away as soon as we actually figure out how to use it?

Somewhere I think the “Mad Men” of this decade are chuckling, just waiting for us to turn our attention back to TV or some other old-line media.

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