Traditional Social Media is getting quieter as people start to share less. I began to notice this towards the end of last year, and now as we leave the first quarter of 2021, there is a definite shift in user behaviour.
During the first lockdown in everyone spent more time on social media. I think everyone saw an increase in friend requests and the use of live video etc. But then, as the year progressed, people started posting less. Perhaps it was the politics, Conspiracy Theories, increased Ads etc, but the public aspect of social media is quieter.
I feel users are logging in but doing more observing rather than posting. The one area which is increasing is in private groups and communities. Here we see users seeking out like-minded people and preferring to post away from the eyes of advertisers and others who may not share their point of view.
Another reason for social media becoming quieter is that with more and more people working from home, businesses and companies are now using social media to recruit and vet potential employees.
The result is many users are being careful and deliberately curating what they post. Personal profiles will see fewer updates, and what does get posted will be neutral and inoffensive.
On Facebook, I have over 3000 connections, and I used to have to click on ‘Most Recent’ or favourites to see posts from the key people I follow. I no longer have to do that. The ‘Most Recent tab’ brings up almost identical posts, and contacts who used to post regularly now seem to be doing less, sometimes weeks apart. In private groups, the opposite is happening. I run a private music group on Facebook called Now Spinning, and this is more active now than ever, with over 60 posts per day.
Facebook puts a lot of energy into groups, and I feel it is only a matter of time before targeted Ads start to run within them. When this happens, we will see an upturn in online communities based on websites and interests.
We are almost going back to the early years of the internet when people participated in online forums. The difference is people are using their real names and photos and being more open in these private and smaller communities. As for public profiles, some people may be thinking do they need to use them at all.