"'Facebook fatigue' kicks in as people tire of social networks" according to the Register. Now i won't say i'm surprised, i was bored of Facebook 5 months ago.
I don't think this is the beginning of the end for social networking - although many still believe the entire internet to be a gimmick for the kids - but it does highlight the need of social networking sites to 'evolve' if they are to cease to be just a novelty that gets unceremoniously thrown away with that unused Scrabble set you got for Christmas, forever set for a life in car boot sales and charity shops.
As i mentioned 5 months ago, i've started to find other ways of providing the interactions (or novelty) that Facebook provides. If Facebook want to cling onto their investment potential they need to show that they're evolving at the same pace as their users. Bar the Facebook apps, and adverts that look as awful as i'm sure their reponse rates must be, i see nothing new on Facebook.
Facebook's reluctance to go public is starting to seem very short-sighted in light of this. Yes i realise this is just one article and one report but there's nothing more obvious than the buzz you see (or don't see) yourself - i knew when 5 of my friends bought the Michael Andrews Mad World cover in late 2003 that it was likely to be a suprise Christmas number 1 - now i see my friends using Facebook less and less regularly and so my prediction is for a gradual down turn in Facebook's fortunes if they don't innovate (predicting Christmas number 1s is clearly a different (and more difficult) skill to predicting the future of the internet but you have to start somewhere).
So is it all doom and gloom or is there still hope in the world of social networking?
If the crappest, oldest social networking sites still roll on (i'm thinking friendsreunited) then i'm afraid they'll be no mass facebook / bebo / myspace suicide. Although i'm very interested to see the next big company to break the monopoly of these three (in the UK).
I mentioned Ning last time i wrote about the successor to Facebook. I've still got my money on them but i'm knocking the odds from 5-1 to 10-1 as more potentials enter the race.
Pluck, Ning, opensocial / Google, Search Wikia (hmm) are simmering. And maybe not strictly social networking but Wordpress have to get in there somewhere. The amount of sites popping up everywhere using Wordpress fills me with optimism for Web 2.0s future - it may be a bit too techy for the man on the street but will certainly play a part in the future of social networking.