Social Media: How To Lose Friends And Not Influence People

Ever been at a social event and found yourself stuck with the most boring person in the room? You know the type. They love talking about themselves – which is fine if they have something interesting to say – but not this guy. They’re so dull, you’re compelled to politely excuse yourself and avoid them for the rest of the evening.

Now, reimagine the scenario so that instead of being at a dinner or function , you’re on Facebook, and instead of just one dull person, the party (aka your news feed) is full of inane sharing from friends or businesses and brands that you ‘liked’ at some point. It’s enough to make you switch off, take a break or even delete your account – and it seems people are doing just that.

Losing interest

According to a recent survey undertaken by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 61 per cent of current Facebook users say they have voluntarily taken a break (up to several weeks, for some) from using Facebook. A further 20 per cent said they once used the site, but no longer do.

Some 21 per cent took a voluntary time-out from the site due to being “too busy”, but others said: “the content wasn’t relevant” (10 per cent); “they just weren’t interested” (10 per cent); and “they got bored” (7 per cent). Looking ahead, the survey found that in 2013 more than one in four respondents plan to spend less time on the social network.

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A little effort goes a long way

The research seems to illustrate that some users (including businesses and brands) may have reached the ‘comfortable stage’ in their relationship with Facebook. It started with the sharing of attractive photos, interesting articles, insightful quotes and cool videos, but now it has lost its initial gloss and become routine.

Ultimately, we return to the need for quality content. Some users may forgive their real life ‘friends’ the occasional mundane musing, but their level of tolerance is likely to be lower if a business is hoarding their news feed with unimaginative posts. It reiterates the need to have a strategy in place for your business’s social media, not just for how often or when you post, but more so what you share. It’s essential that the content you find and create gives something to its reader – whether it’s informative, inspiring, educational, inventive or funny. Qualities you would like them to associate with you and your business, not the dreaded boring guy that has them looking for the nearest exit, or worse, the ‘unlike’ button.

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