Is Facebook Losing Its Edge in Evolving Social Media Market?

When Snapchat turned down Facebook’s acquisition offer of nearly $3 billion last week, it spoke to the changing social media landscape in which Facebook’s role seems to be different than what it once was. Although it is still the biggest social media service on the Web, and continues to attract a number of startups, “Facebook fatigue” has become more widespread among its users in recent years, and it is likely affecting the corporation’s image.

“As the once scrappy startup evolves into a sprawling corporation,” The New York Times writes about Facebook, “younger companies who view themselves as disruptive do not find Facebook’s size and cushy campus as appealing.” Many of those younger companies also aim to act as alternatives to Facebook, meaning they’re not as likely to sell out to the social networking site.

Snapchat turning down Facebook’s offer foreshadows what NYT calls a future in which Facebook is “no longer the default place on the Web where people go to network.”

And that’s particularly true of younger teens. NYT “Bits” blogger Jenna Wortham notes that Facebook’s chief financial officer David A. Ebersman said the site has seen a decrease in daily activity among 13- and 14-year-olds — who happen to be very active on Snapchat.

A study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project also shows that the majority of Facebook users have gone on breaks from the site, owing those gaps in activity to the “tedium and irrelevancy of its content,” NYT reports. “Among the crucial younger demographic — users ages 18 to 29 — that first propelled Facebook into prominence, 38 percent said they expected to spend less time using the site this year.”

And though Facebook is still the most popular social network out there, Wortham posits that it’s possibly no longer as key to social survival as it once was.

“As it has become nearly universal, Facebook may have lost some of its edge — or, at the very least, it may no longer feel novel or original to some of its users,” Wortham writes. “Those cracks in Facebook’s veneer have provided a market opening for other messaging services among young people in the United States and worldwide.”

Related Stories:
Snapchat Spurned $3 Billion Acquisition Offer from Facebook, The Wall Street Journal, 11/13/13
Snapchat vs. Facebook: Being “Cool” Doesn’t Always Pay Off, Yahoo! Finance, 11/18/13