A new report from eMarketer says that social networking in the U.S. may be approaching saturation, meaning that the growth in users is likely to match population trends, and usage per user is unlikely to grow.
Our own research shows another trend; “social exhaustion.” Users who sign up for social networks fall into two categories—those who become addicted and those who lose interest to at least some degree. Right now about 26% of the population fits into the first group, and that’s primarily young and affluent types.
Over time, our model says that engagement of the larger second group will wane, and that activities like games, polls and contests designed to raise usage and interest are actually lowering it. Those techniques target the first group only and disenchant the second.