I believe Facebook’s scroll-binding magic is fading.
This means entities, offices and businesses exclusively using Facebook for public relations are in danger of fading as well.
There are inherit problems with using Facebook as a primary marketing tool—especially in Marion County, where 21% of residents are 65 and older. A large amount of people will never see your content.
As a reporter, it has been frustrating to log on to Facebook and find public officials and offices breaking news to the public over social media rather than local news media.
Posting on Facebook is well and good, but if you don’t diversify to your print media, TV, radio and other mediums, you will be obsolete.
The Golden Age of Facebook is over. There is more competition emerging every day in the social media market, public distrust is growing against big tech companies and we are quickly discovering the unintended side-effects of being addicted to social media.
The University of Pennsylvania published a study in November 2018 which strongly suggested that the more time spent on social media directly correlates with stronger depression and loneliness.
The American Psychological Association reported in March that there has been a substantial increase in major depression and suicidal thoughts, psychological distress and more attempted suicides since 2010, when social media usage dramatically increased nationwide.
People have also grown disillusioned by Facebook, which has been caught up in censorship debates and data scandals.
According to an April 2018 survey by the Ponemon Institute, Facebook users’ confidence in the company plunged by 66% a month after news erupted that Facebook had allowed the British political data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest information on 87 million Facebook users without consent.
This past July, the Federal Trade Commission issued a $5 billion fine against Facebook in connection with the scandal.
Many users are also generally uncomfortable with the way Facebook is using information, according to the Pew Research Center.
Unbeknownst to nearly 74% of adults on Facebook, the social media company has categorized users’ personal traits and interests for advertisers.
Once informed of Facebook’s ad preferences page, 51% of adults said they were not comfortable with the generated lists, while 27% said the classifications were not accurate.
People are also wary of social media’s policies and terms-of-use.
A June 2018 Pew poll showed that 72% of Americans believe social media companies censor views they don’t like.
Conservatives have recently raised issue with Twitter, Google and Facebook for their alleged anti-conservative bias.
This bias has seemingly led to ambiguous action againist right-wing voices, such as Stephen Crowder, Sean Medlock and Jessee Kelly.
Even Meghan Murphy, a feminist activist, was banned by Twitter for posting tweets, saying, “Men aren’t women.”
These factors are having real impacts on the power that Facebook swings. In the social media market, the people are the commodity. If you lose the people, you lose the cake.
Facebook was founded in 2004, and was geared to college students. The site was explosively-popular and quickly exhausted other earlier social media platforms, such as Myspace.
In 2010, data shows Facebook membership skyrocketed among the U.S.’ total population older than 12, from just 18% to 41%.
This climaxed in 2017 to a mind-blowing 67% of the total population using its services.
However, Facebook saw its usage fall for the first time ever beginning in 2018 and is on track to record its second year in a row in decline.
According to Edison Research of Somerville, N.J., Facebook has lost 15 million users since 2017—and those drop-offs have been high among younger uses.
At its peak year in 2017, 79% of Americans between the ages 12 and 34 were signing onto Facebook.
In 2018, just 67% of young Americans were using its services. This has dropped again this year and now, just 62% are using the social media site.
Not only are more and more people leaving the website, but posts by businesses and offices are being throttled to users in attempts of pushing these types of accounts to purchase advertising space.
The day is already here that small businesses, churches and officials will not be able to rely on Facebook for free publicity and a public relations hub.
Attempting to prioritized friend-based interactions, new algorithms for Facebook launched in 2018, leaving business pages and public accounts little-to-no option but to pay-to-play and purchase sponsored space if they want to be seen on news feeds.
If a business account user doesn’t want to fork out some cash, they run the risk of getting only a few “likes,” few impressions and less exposure.
However, there is still apparently some optimism for Facebook to rebound.
This last April, the company reported record first-quarter revenues of $15 million. It also has $40 billion in cash reserves.
Market shares for the company actually rose in the after-hours trading the day Facebook’s $5 billion penality was announced for its scandal with Cambridge Analytica.
The company will have to make substantial leaps in its product if it hopes to return its 2017 status, in my opinion. With the capital Facebook is sitting on, that is a very real possibility.
I guess all we have to do is wait and see what becomes of our friends over on Facebook.
I have friends who have ditched Facebook completely and have moved accounts over to other platforms, like Instagram (which ironically is owned by Facebook), YouTube and Snapchat.
Personally, I’ve decided to delete Facebook on my phone. Now, I really only use it for work purposes—because, unfortunately, I’m getting most of my story leads on my news feed rather than from sources through phone calls or texts.
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