testosteronepit.com / By Wolf Richter / January 22, 2013, 4:59P
Facebook isn’t over the hill, exactly. Last October, it announced that 1 billion people used it every month, in a world of 7 billion people. Leaping from one milestone to the next. But in its key markets, such as the US, where it derives most of its revenues, user rates have been plateauing, and a shudder-inducing D-word has snuck into polite conversation: declining.
Last month, according to social-media monitoring startup Socialbakers, there were 167.4 million active users in the US, down 2.4 million from prior month, and down 123,000 from three months earlier. Over the last six months, growth was a hefty 11.9 million. Other major markets saw similar scenarios, such as Indonesia, the UK, Canada, France, and Germany.
More precisely, “Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction?“ The study by two German universities is based on responses from about 600 FB users, mostly German students, who were contacted via university email lists and bribed into participating with a raffle of Amazon.de gift cards.
The study cites research that acknowledges that “passive following”—keeping up with the minutiae of other people’s lives—allowed users to experience positive emotions and “positive cognitive effects” as it reduced uncertainty, “thereby providing a basis for social trust, civic engagement and political participation.” And so “users broaden their horizons and build a sense of connectedness.”