FB in trouble as alternate social media more active.
The number of users using Facebook is plummeting, with 6 million America users logging off in just one month. Despite being the world's largest social network with more than a billion users, people in Facebook's biggest markets - US, UK, Canada, Spain, France, Germany, Japan and other European and Asian countries - are deleting their accounts.
In the last month, there has been a four percent fall in users in US users, according to independent data. In the last six months, Facebook has lost nearly 9 million monthly visitors in the US and 2 million in the UK. Experts say as new social media sites grow, Facebook's users are deserting the network. They say that figures aren't helped by the lack of new Facebook members. It is believed that most people who want to sign up to the site have already done so.
New media specialist Ian Maude said the fall in numbers was due to 'a boredom factor'. 'The problem is that, in the US and UK, most people who want to sign up for Facebook has already done it.
'People like to try something new. Is Facebook going to go the way of Myspace? 'The risk is relatively small, but that is not to say it isn't there.'
Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg is said to be introducing new features in order to win members back. The company is working to appeal to younger Smartphone users. The most significant development is Facebook Home, software that can be downloaded on to certain Android phones to feed news and photos from friends - and advertising - directly to the owner's locked home screen.
As well as switching off from the network, Facebook users are reported to be spending less time on the site.
The number of minutes spent on Facebook in the US has fallen. The average dropped from 121 minutes in December 2012, to 115 minutes in February, according to comScore. But Facebook explained that the time spent on its pages from those sitting in front of personal computers is declining rapidly because we are switching our screen time to smartphones and tablets.
Facebook is preparing to update investors on its performance in the first three months of the year. And despite an overall drop in numbers, Facebook is growing in South America and India.
Monthly visitors in Brazil were up 6 percent in the last month to 70million and India has seen a 4 percent rise to 64m.
Alternative social networks such as Instagram, the photo sharing site that won 30million users in 18 months before Facebook acquired the business a year ago, have seen surges in popularity with younger age groups. Path, the mobile phone-based social network founded by former Facebook employee Dave Morin, which restricts its users to 150 friends, is gaining 1million.
According to Pivotal Research Group, advertising revenue could be up 49 percent, driven by international expansion and the FBX advertising exchange, which uses Facebook to target advertising related to other websites surfers have visited.
Instagram gained 30 million users in only 18 months, before Facebook bought it. Path, the mobile phone-based social network and app, has gained over 9 million users. Path was created by former Facebook employee Dave Morin. According to SocialBakers, Facebook has in increased Brazil (up 6 percent) and India (up 4 percent) in March.
Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project reported that 61 percent of Facebook users had taken a "Facebook vacation" due to lack of interest, drama or realizing that they were spending too much time on the site.
If Facebook users leave, or even check in less frequently, Facebook's revenue growth will suffer. Facebook depends on targeted advertising for most of its money.
In 2011, Facebook and Twitter were seen as largely unassailable, with the rest squabbling around for scraps. Then Google entered the fray with Google Plus (or Google + as it is often written). In its first month, despite being in an invite only beta phase, it amassed 25 million users. The latest count, as of January 2013, is that it has 525 million users.
Google Plus is not just a Facebook clone. It is a new social network, built from the ground up with good privacy settings built in. It combines the best features of both Facebook and Twitter. You can share posts, photos, videos etc with your friends and family like on Facebook, but you can also follow people you don't know (celebrities, your favourite writers, sports stars...) like you can on Twitter.
If you like you can write posts and publish them to the world like Twitter, but with no word limit and with the ability to include photos and other content in your posts. In that respect it can be a bit like a Blog too.
The general consensus seems to be that on Google Plus you already get much more interaction, comments and feedback than you ever would on a blog or twitter account. Several friends have told me they now use Google Plus because it is a good place for 'intelligent conversation' - I would have to agree with that assessment.
At the heart of this is 'Circles', the idea that you can add friends, family, contacts and people you are following into different circles. This allows you to view and share posts with whichever groups of people you wish.
If you haven't already tried Google Plus, here are 10 reasons why you should give it a go. Even if you've tried it out in its early days when it was something of a 'ghost town', and not been back since, you might be pleasantly surprised now.