Cummings: Has Facebook’s empire started to fall?


The novelty of Facebook has definitely waned and usefulness of it may have passed its prime as well. There could be less Facebook traffic if there aren’t any incentives to log on. 

Kelsey Cummings

It dawned on me during these past few weeks that my Facebook profile picture is from last Halloween — a picture I haven’t changed since March. After clicking through the rest of my profile pictures, I noticed a pattern emerging: There are bigger and bigger gaps of time between each photo.

Not only do I not change my picture as often, but I also post pictures less often, post fewer statuses, and generally care less and less about what people are posting and who is posting it. At one point, I used Facebook mainly for the games, and now I can’t name the last time I even tried one.

I suppose you could say I’ve grown incredibly bored with Facebook over the last few years. If you think about it, what has Facebook changed lately — besides its cosmetic look — that has really changed the way users experience social media? Are other users getting bored with it, too?

Reports by SocialBakers state people are, with about 6 million U.S. users leaving Facebook in April alone. And though this is only a measly 4 percent of Facebook’s overall users, these downward trends have held up.

But other reports argue differently. A reporter from the Wall Street Journal claims that, though usage might seem to be down, those statistics do not account for mobile use, which has seen a huge leap in numbers as of late.

So it seems that this data is inconclusive, simply showing a possible trend toward mobile usage as opposed to a decline in usage overall. What does this say of our population then? Are they not bored of Facebook? Am I an anomalous case?

As quoted in The New Yorker, psychologist Timothy Wilson suggests Facebook isn’t the complete reason for boredom but that our brains are lacking in proper fulfillment from our activities and Facebook merely adds to the problem.

Other studies quoted in the same article report finding most of us interact passively with Facebook, meaning we scroll mindlessly through our feed and other people’s pictures rather than engaging in social conversation and interaction on the site. This passive interaction leads us to feel lonely, bored, and disconnected.

However, users continue to return to Facebook because it seems to fill our need for entertaining stimulation in a quick and simple way. So even if people are bored of Facebook, the usage statistics would not reflect that boredom.

Wilson believes, however, that getting rid of Facebook wouldn’t help to cure our boredom but that our boredom needs to be cured by other means. In this way, I must slightly disagree with Wilson. Though our boredom might not be a direct result of Facebook, it certainly could benefit from the deletion of Facebook.

The average user spends about 15 hours and 33 minutes per month on Facebook, according to StatisticBrain. With that extra time freed up, people could spend a lot more time engaging in mentally fulfilling and stimulating activities. Our boredom would be cured.

But what about those who argue it is necessary in this day and age to have a Facebook? Not only do companies tend to want employees with social networking skills to help promote their companies, but college groups and even friends may utilize a Facebook page or invite feature to keep users up-to-date with the most recent events and activities.

These reasons seem like enough to keep users from deleting their accounts and might very well be the reasons I decide not to delete my own account, but it is important to note that it can be done. I myself am in acquaintance with several people who never have had, nor ever will have, a Facebook account, and they manage to function in life as well as the rest of us users.

These people tend to be in favor of the more old-fashioned ways of communication, such as by phone or face-to-face conversation. But perhaps these methods are eventually to become outdated. What is to say that Facebook, with its millions of users, will not eventually be forgotten as something greater and more advanced comes along?

So I probably won’t delete my Facebook account. Despite all my boredom and apathy about the site, I just can’t bring myself to get rid of it just quite yet. Soon, maybe I’ll just quit getting on Facebook altogether.

But, maybe Facebook will end up deleting my account for me as the rest of its users figure out how bored they are, too, and this great Internet empire falls.