No Place for Rocket Scientists
It looks like the honeymoon in social media is, if not ending, at least getting long in the tooth. A report by Pew Research last week shows that the social public might be waving a yellow flag at all the socialization opportunity whizzing by. For several years the walls have been going up and this report documents that people are actively de-friending, making their pages private and some are regretting at least some of their postings.
The report, “Privacy management on social media sites” says among other things:
- In 2011 63% of respondents admitted de-friending someone (up seven points from 2009). Also 44% said they’d deleted comments left by friends and 37% have untagged photos.
- After many years of adding content and “friends” the Pew report now says that people are actively pruning their friends lists. Moreover there is a discernable rise — a majority actually — in the number of people who make their Facebook pages private.
- The report also shows that a majority of social network site users – 58% – restrict access to their profiles and women are significantly more likely to choose private settings.
- Finally, half of SNS users say they have some difficulty in managing privacy controls, but just 2% say it is “very difficult” to use the controls. But those with the most education report the most trouble.
Very often when a fad declines, it crashes and burns like a bubble in the economy. Social networking will likely be different. It’s such a sea change for the global community that it’s hard to fathom if or how we could ever go back to a time before Facebook, Twitter and the rest. But some prudent reassessment of social media has been overdue and that looks like what might be happening as people who have been burned to one degree or another have decided to scale back their participation. As the hype-cycle recedes we might discover more or better or at least more appropriate places for social media in our lives.
One thing I can’t figure out though is why people with more education have the most trouble with privacy settings. Could this simply be a manifestation of nerds being asocial? Hmmm.