The Anti-Social Network?

Financial and mobile issues might prove the least of Mark Zuckerberg’s problems claims a report [ ] out this week from top ten award winning independent market research agency Conquest [ ] into the social media habits of 14-24 year olds. It reveals that Facebook’s core audience- teenagers-are starting to fall out of love with the website and that activity may have peaked amid a mounting groundswell of dissatisfaction and concerns over privacy and bullying.

While Facebook’s pre-eminence is assured in the short term, “Fuicide” (the attempted or successful deletion of the account) is on the rise as are complaints about the damaging impact of regular and prolonged Facebook use. Grievances triggered by Facebook’s culture include obsession with appearance and acceptance of sexually provocative behaviour; increased negative self esteem, vulnerability to bullying, depression caused by jealousy and comparing one’s life to peers and inability to project one’s true self. Conquest used its avatar driven methodology Metaphorix(TM) to capture respondent’s authentic feelings about social media.

The Evidence :-

– Over 30% of the group have had sufficiently bad experience online to recently attempt or succeed in deleting their accounts, with 13% of regular users planning to lower their presence over the coming 12 months.

– Concerns about privacy, bullying and Facebook ‘making me feel down about life’ are the most cited reasons:-

– Specifically:-vulnerability to bullying was stated by 44% as reason for feeling unhappy about using the site, as well as increased negative self esteem (28%); depression sparked by unfavourable comparisons with other people’s lives (25%); and plain jealousy of others (24%).

– Nearly half of all young women (45%) felt that Facebook intensifies an obsession with appearance. Moreover, 33% of males concurred, with over a quarter stating that it boosts the acceptance of sexually provocative presentation.

– A growing frustration was articulated with the Facebook culture’s inability to enable authentic expression of character. This is offset by young men’s relish at the opportunity afforded to exaggerate the facts about themselves, with 44% admitting to this.

– Generally speaking it is unsurprisingly young women who suffer more from the adverse effects of Facebook than their male counterparts with more female deleters and complainants of harmful consequences.

New and different sites (like Pinterest and fashism ) have experienced phenomenal growth in 2012 while Myspace has remained a stalwart for those musically minded, challenging Facebook’s monolithic status. Commented David Penn MD of Conquest and inventor of the Metaphorix(TM) methodology:- “Could the future of social media be more niche networks catering for particular interests- those which users select in order to feel more comfortable, more inspired and ultimately more themselves?”

4 thoughts on “The Anti-Social Network?”

      • The point is with regards to Facebook losing punters due to bullying that they have in the past been notoriously slow to take down offending material. Well …if you have 300,000,000 users and 1,200 employees that gives you an employee to user ratio of 1:300000.

        I believe users now are over 900,000,000 although there may be more employees.

        Clearly moderating a network of this size which is a massive piece of self-regenerating code who’s primary aim up till now has been simply self perpetuation … is going to be a massive logistical exercise verging on the technically impossible. Facebook are only now starting to tackle bullying as they are reaching the point of market saturation and as such holding onto customers and how customers are treated becomes more important.

        As far as politicians are concerned the legislative problem is that internet is neither a telephone conversation nor publishing or broadcasting but somewhere between the three … so politicians have no idea how to regulate it. It is a little wonder then if the largest social network sites have bullying problems. It’s the flip side to publishers not needing an editor any more.

        • OK I get what you are saying now – but the issue is no different to copyright and YouTube. The numbers of staff available simply cannot police online systems. Neither can politicians control the web. The only way forward is massive investment in education, which Governments worldwide are failing to do.

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