Fed up of Facebook? You’re not alone, according to new research

The web’s going mobile and we’re all getting fed up of Facebook. They’re the key findings of a new piece of research from GlobalWebIndex, which provides global insight into consumer behaviour online.

GlobalWebIndex has just launched its fifth wave of research (the first being in 2009) and found that more people favour mobile devices to acccess the web – and it’s set to grow. In the UK, while only 4% of people saying that mobile is their favourite way of accessing the internet, 13% say it’ll be their favourite in a year’s time (see charts below). Interestingly, this compared to 7% and 18% internationally, suggesting that the UK’s a little behind when it comes to mobile internet take-up.

Wave5 - current access pointUK fave internet devices, one year on (2011)

Overall, mobile internet access is on the up – and across all age groups. 61% of 16-24 year olds access the internet, which is up from 46% two years ago. Meanwhile, more than a third of 55-64 year olds access the web from their mobiles, up from 18%.

UK mobile access across ages - GlobalWebIndex 2011

So, what does the mobile research tell us. Well, firstly it’s good to see some research that isn’t full of hyperbole (I’m thinking back to the Ofcom research that suggested we were ‘addicted’ to smartphones). Secondly, while unsurprisingly, mobile-phone based internet access is greatest amongst the youth, middle aged people are catching on fast (it would have been interesting to have stats for people over the age of 64 though – they do exist!). I’m reminded of my own Dad, who’s just got his first smartphone and marvels in an Uncle Brin way about having maps, weather and email on the move.

Facebook fatigue – who remembers when we got excited about throwing sheep?

And what about the so-called Facebook-fatigue? If you listen to Facebook’s PR, it’s all about growth – but GlobalWebIndex’s research suggests that this is in the emerging markets, more than established markets such as the US, the UK and Canada. In fact, as the table below shows, participation amongst university educated Facebook users is largely on the decline (GlobalWebIndex led with US “university educated” Facebook users in the press release, since that’s where Facebook started, but actually I’d be more interested in stats for all users). This finding is consistent with Experien Hitwise’s findings recently, which showed that UK Facebook usage has fallen 4% in the last few weeks.

The research doesn’t allude to what people are doing instead of Facebook, but we can surmise that the rise in the likes of Twitter, Google+, Instagram and online gaming is making social networking more fragmented.

UK Facebook fatigue

There were loads more findings, such as the growth of micro-blogging and the so-called “lean back internet”, where we’re apparently switching from being creators of content to distributors of other people’s information. So, really, you should take their advice and tweet this blog post ;-)

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