The era of oversharing is coming to an end, at least as far as Facebook is concerned. A newly leaked internal company report reveals a sharp drop in the number of intimate and personal statuses being shared on the social network, something Facebook is scrambling to reverse. Such statuses are referred to as “original sharing,” and they involve things like announcing engagements, sharing a fun story from one’s day, and talking about family. In the place of original sharing are media links to videos, news articles, and other less valuable content.
Original statuses are a staple of the Facebook newsfeed — the whole point behind Facebook was allowing individuals to share parts of their lives with many other people at once, whether it’s vacation photos or tragic news or something else altogether. This has resulted in many unwanted statuses — no one wants to hear about your kidney stones or constipation for the nth time — but has also been the biggest source of attraction for new Facebook users.
According to the internal report, which was acquired by The Information, Facebook views this decrease in original sharing as a big problem, and it has taken steps to correct the issue. Timelines have been tweaked to give precedence to original statuses, for example, and the Android app was updated with a design that makes sharing original content easier. Most recently, Facebook has launched Live Video, a way for users to share what’s happening right now in video form for friends and family to see.
Original broadcast sharing, as the social network calls it, was down by a massive 21-percent.
By last summer, Facebook saw overall sharing rates down by only 5.5%, but original broadcast sharing, as the social network calls it, was down by a massive 21-percent year-on-year. According to the report, original statuses gather the most engagement from other users, making the uptick in non-original sharing less exciting than one would anticipate.
Speaking with an unnamed source, The Information reports that Facebook’s efforts have only been marginally successful — original broadcast sharing was down by 15-percent earlier this year, despite changes. The problem was worrisome enough as of late last year that Mark Zuckerberg reportedly held an “all-hands” meeting stating that content production among users had to increase.
Why is original sharing down? One cited reason is the growth in how many people Facebook users were connecting with — as the number of connections grew, they naturally morphed to include acquaintances and larger, less intimate, groups of people. This decreased the personal feel of the website, and users have grown less inclined to share personal things with ‘friends’ who, at least in part, aren’t part of their personal lives.
A small percentage of users only post personal content to certain groups of people, meaning most individuals in their friends list don’t see it. Of the active weekly users, only 39-percent posted something original at all. Those who are inclined to post personal statuses were found to do so at an average of five times a week.
At the end of the day, Facebook is still working to reverse the course of things, adding prompts to share photos and connect with friends on special days, like birthdays and mother’s day. These things may ultimately prove inadequate, however, as users are unlikely to shed “friends” for the sake of recreating the social networks former, more personal nature, instead opting to post their most intimate thoughts in private messages and hidden groups.
SOURCE: The Information