in Social Media

‘Facebook has too much going on’

It’s good to absorb stats. How many active users does Facebook have? How many Tweets there were during X-factor? The online marketing industry is full of them.

But the more interesting question is always: why? Why are people doing what they do?

So when I can, I ask people. Not people in the industry. No, I mean normal people. People who couldn’t care less about CTRs, series C valuations or mobile app installs.

At a family gathering on Sunday I took 5 minutes to speak to L. L is 22, a recent graduate, works in retail and lives in Kent.

What she said

L used to have Facebook on her phone (an iPhone 5) but deleted the app. She said there was ‘too much going on’ – the newsfeed has too much information. She doesn’t want to spend the time going through it.

Her friends use Twitter a lot, but personally she doesn’t.

L loves Instagram for instant sharing of photos with a message. She uses the app for that. She didn’t know anything about their changing T&Cs, or that Twitter doesn’t play so well with it any more.

For instant messaging, L uses Whatsapp.

My interpretation

People like L want to share instantly. It’s about being in the moment. That’s why Whatsapp, Instagram and Twitter are popular apps. They’re good for private sharing (e.g. DMs, one-to-one messaging) and group sharing.

As businesses, Whatsapp is mobile only; Instagram is mobile first and Twitter is orientating itself around mobile.

Facebook has struggled with mobile, and the news feed is more of a news digest. It’s not what L or her friends want (though personally I love it).

I’ve long been a fan of Whatsapp. In my opinion, it effectively killed Blackberry’s and BBM’s popularity with the younger demographic. It is a huge component of ‘dark social‘.

Of course, we didn’t even talk about desktop usage. That says something important too.

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