An online campaign, which began in response to the growing anger over Facebook’s privacy policies, has identified some interesting insights on why people are quitting the world’s largest social network.
To date, the survey (QuitFacebookDay.com) identities 40,672 people who have publicly committed to quitting Facebook.
The fact that Facebook is the world’s largest social network should make this movement of interest to businesses and marketers in particular.
Researchers from the University of Vienna in Austria surveyed a group of those who quit Facebook to better understand their motivation. In fact, they want so far as to compare their behaviors and attitudes against a control group of active users who didn’t quit.
Those opting out were predominately male (72%) and older than the average age of those who chose to stay (31 years). In contrast, those who opted to not quit Facebook were mostly (71%) women with an average age of 24.
Among the reasons shared for dropping out of Facebook:
– Privacy concerns over acquisition and use of personal data
– Dissatisfied with the site’s design and time-wasting features
– Facebook friendships online were superficial and fraught with unwanted social pressure
– Fear of social media addiction
Social Media Is Not Done Evolving
It should go without saying that social media is still evolving. Frankly, given what’s still to come in this sphere, the social networking industry is still an infant. Yet, social media fatigue is already high among users.
Earlier this month, in another Sunday Morning Read article here on Sensei blogs, I shared my views on the power of saying goodbye to social networking friends, based on some of my experiences and those of my colleagues. The conflicts that arise between our ability to connect to more people and the challenge of maintaining personal relationships have created a litany of new stressors on people.
For all its benefits, social networking has also contributed to the rise of a new-world affliction called the fear of missing out, often referred to as FOMO.
FOMO was coined after social studies were conducted that revealed the onslaught of “noteworthy” social media status updates and photos from contacts that include personal successes, travel pictures, and relationship status updates, has lowered self-esteem in many and increased the likelihood of depression in others.
Add to this the number of high-profile privacy scandals, including WikiLeaks and NSA surveillance activities, which have increased the public’s concern over their privacy, and we shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a growing tendency to reject the current trajectory of social networking.
What are the lessons to be learned by marketers from the quitting Facebook campaign? The easy joke is that it proves women are still more likely to change their minds once making a decision (71% of women who committed to opting out didn’t). Joking aside, brands must be concerned with the perception of online engagement and either use these fears and concerns as a target for their next engagement or ensure future campaigns avoid any activity that further exasperates them.
While an analysis of this particular campaign identified that most of the dropouts were older men and that privacy was the most cited concern, the growing fatigue with social networking should be an early warning sign for those engaged in social media marketing strategy.
Quitting Facebook is the start of a bigger anti-social media movement. Agree?
Should this be a concern for a brand’s marketing strategy?
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego
Image Credit HotBlack, via Creative Commons License