There is only so much time in a day. If there is a dramatic shift in online use, then there must be a decrease in other areas, even if the total number of users has also increased. The Pew Research Center report notes that growth in the usage of Facebook has largely plateaued. The study reports that 85% of the adults in the United States are now Internet users and 67% are smartphone users. Here are three conclusions from the report:
I've been recently commenting on my observations concerning the decrease in blogging activity among genealogists. Although there are some prominent exceptions, the day-to-day blogging activity among the less active bloggers has decreased dramatically. In my own family, my children and their spouses have a total of approximately 30 blogs. I have noticed a marked decrease in activity in the blogs and an increase, I might say a dramatic increase, in Instagram activity. Although one day's activity in the genealogical blogging community cannot be argued to be indicative of the entire community, the activity on any given day is illustrative of the overall trend.
- The proportion of online adults who use Pinterest and Instagram has doubled since Pew Research Center first started tracking social media platform adoption in 2012.Some 31% of online adults use Pinterest (up from 15% in 2012), while 28% use Instagram (up from 13% in 2012). However, none of the social media platforms measured in this survey experienced a statistically significant increase in usage between September 2014 and April 2015.
- Facebook remains the most popular social media site – 72% of online adults are Facebook users, amounting to 62% of all American adults. Growth on the site has largely plateaued. There has not been a significant change in the overall share of users since 2012. Those on Facebook remain highly engaged with 70% saying they log on daily, including 43% who do so several times a day.
Today, for example, in my blog reader, Feedly.com, I have 53 posts listed. Upon examining those posts, I find 26 to be newsfeeds from CNET. After reviewing those posts, that leaves me with only 27 new feeds. I say only 27 new feeds because normally I would see well over 100 every day. If I fail to review the feeds for more than a day, I will easily have over 200 feeds. Of the remaining 27 feeds, 10 of those feeds were from non-genealogy blogs.
Looking at the 17 remaining blogs posts, every single post is from either an established genealogy company or one of the diehard, well-known, genealogy bloggers.
I am very unlikely to move my emphasis from writing a blog to using one of the popular social media outlets such as Facebook or Instagram. Neither of these venues is particularly suited to discourse. As I recently pointed out, my emphasis has shifted from doing presentations in conferences around the country to producing videos from classes at the Brigham Young University Family History Library. I find that the audience for the videos is much greater than any possible contact I could have at a conference. I'm not ruling out speaking at conferences, I am merely changing my emphasis. If I were to find that my blog posts were remaining unread or if I found that another venue was more productive, I would change immediately. I see blogs as carrying on a conversation with the world whereas I see social media is much more limited. With few exceptions, Facebook and the other social media outlets are from my perspective, extremely trivial.
Since I see blogs as more substantive than other social media outlets, I would suggest that if you are caught up in the triviality of Facebook et al. that you might want to come back to blogging.