Facebook Users Not Getting So Personal Anymore

If users stop posting personal status updates, Facebook could becomes less relevant and alienate the communities that enabled it to become what it is today.

Interaction is the lifeblood of social media. For the most part, social sites are only providing a platform, and the vast majority of the content is provided by the users. Unfortunately for Facebook, its users seem less willing to share personal content, which could lead to significant problems for the company in the future.

Quoting sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg’s technology blog suggested that there is a “context collapse” happening on Facebook. Users are refraining from posting intimate content to the site in favor of sharing those moments through messaging services.

This shift is a result of several factors. Pew Research Center data indicates that people are less likely to share unpopular opinions on social sites than they are to share those opinions in other settings. Ideological filter bubbles may also be contributing to a decline in posting.

What’s more, Facebook has become the major connecting social hub for most people, and as such, not all content is appropriate for every friend group. By becoming the largest network, Facebook may also have become the most impersonal.

Facebook has also been working for years to become a primary source of news for internet users, and it has been remarkably successful in this regard. But perhaps in doing so it has pushed out the personal stories from users and made the site more focused on sharing and engagement rather than user-generated content.

Facebook is trying all sorts of initiatives to re-engage users, including Facebook Live, On This Day, special occasion reminders and friendship anniversaries. The social network also recently announced that it would be expanding its branded content program to allow any verified page to push branded content into user feeds. It would seem that Facebook is worried about a lack of content on the site, and it is trying to circulate existing content as much as possible.

Facebook’s business model is largely centered around the exploitation of user data and its ability to advertise to the user base that has aggregated on the site. If users withdraw from personal posting, Facebook could becomes less relevant and alienate the communities that enabled it to become what it is today.

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