Early Facebook users facing fatigue

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Does anybody remember FarmVille? You would sign into Facebook and bam, you’d have a new cow, courtesy of that friend you haven’t seen in years. Mooooo. And do you remember when ‘pokes’ were a legitimate way to maintain a friendship? And when Facebook chat replaced your instant messenger, your email and your mobile phone?

If these things conjure a sense of semi-embarrassed nostalgia in you – somewhat similar to a recovering alcoholic trying to smile at a drunken friend – perhaps you are suffering from Facebook Fatigue.

A major global study has found that the very first Facebook users are starting to use the website less and less. While the world’s biggest social network continues to grow phenomenally in emerging markets, long-term users are showing signs of fatigue. We’re still visible on there, but we’re slowly withdrawing from being ‘active participants’.

What’s happening, Mr. Zuckerberg? Why’d you go and merge chat with messaging, and squish them into that awful sidebar? Messaging isn’t the only sufferer. According to the Global Web Index survey, status updates are also on the decline. This seems to have a twitter of logic to it: those of us hell-bent on divulging what is “on our mind” 24-7 have found our own special space. Tweet tweet.

Content-sharing has also taken a tumble… Micro-blogging platforms have emerged that are more streamlined, personalised and aesthetically pleasing than the Facebook wall. Tumblr is the new go-to website for video junkies, gif revivalists, and those who have great taste but just don’t want to make stuff themselves.

According to the survey, out of the 79% of people who use the internet primarily on their PC or laptop, 42% expect that preference to change in the next year. Who wants their smartphone or iPad to be swathed in a mess of event invitations, chat messages and friend requests?

Perhaps it’s just that the novelty has worn off. Facebook had us hooked early, but now the honeymoon is over. The little notification box no longer sends a flutter through our hearts. We’re getting bored and restless. This isn’t the end just yet: but perhaps it might be time to change our relationship status from ‘addicted’ to ‘recovering’.