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Popular SNS are Decreasing XXXXX!

Communication tools such as SNS, (hereafter collectively referred to as SNS within this article) are currently becoming essential tools for young people.
Last year, “snow”, an image processing app, and “Snapchat”, where posted images automatically disappear after a set amount of time, became quite the topic of conversation.
Contrarily, it is also a fact that we are now seeing some SNS begin to see their popularity wane.
This time, within the “Field’s Yoka Survey 2017”, under a category regarding the use of SNS by Japanese people, I have gathered information on SNS that currently have momentum, and those which have seen a dip in their popularity, along with users’ impressions regarding the use of said services.
Although 17 SNS services were used as subjects within the survey, only the 7 services which are used by 5% or more of the Japanese population have been selected for this article.

■An SNS with a particularly high number of people reporting a “decrease” in their frequency of usage: “mixi”.

First off, SNS users were asked, “Compared to one year ago, how has your frequency of usage of the service changed?”, and the difference between the number of people who reported an “increase”, and a “decrease” was calculated. The results showed that the top 3 SNS which more people reported an “increase” in their usage of were, “snow”, “Instagram”, and “LINE”.
“snow”, a major app from last year, uses real time facial recognition, and automatically processes images to make them appear cuter, which has garnered it popularity among young women. Many people reporting an increase in their use of this app is a result which is easily accepted. Also, “Instagram”, and “LINE”, which have added new image processing and live streaming functions, seem to be successfully increasing their usage.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, services with more people reporting a “decrease” in use were “mixi”, “Facebook”, and “google+”. “mixi”, especially, had over half of its users report a decrease in their usage.

*The ratio of people who reported an increase of use compared to those who reported a decrease when asked the question, “how has your frequency of use of this SNS changed this year compared to the previous year?” The recorded amount has the number of people reporting a decrease subtracted from the number who reported an increase.
*in descending order by difference in amount of increase/decrease.
Of the SNS examined in the survey, only those with over a 5% rate of usage have been included.
*Users of each SNS serves as the denominator.

■ 39% of “mixi” users reported usage of “only a couple of times per month”.

So just how frequently are these services being used? If we compare the frequency of usage, looking at the ratio of users who use a service more than once a day, “snow”, which, as stated above, holds the top spot for number of people reporting an increase in usage, falls to the bottom rank. It appears that, rather than a strict increase in frequency, people reporting an increase in their usage are largely people who have “recently started” using “snow”. The service with the highest frequency of use is “LINE”, at 80%, followed by “Twitter” at 68%, and third-place “Instagram” comes in at 61%. On the other hand, results for “mixi”, which had more people report a “decrease” in usage, has 36% of users reporting use of once or more per day, with 39% reporting usage of only a couple of times per month, with less frequent users making up the majority. Especially, the number of people reporting their usage of “mixi” as only a couple of times each month was the highest among the 7 SNS, highlighting the service’s low usage frequency. Also, “Facebook” has 57% of users reporting usage of once or more each day, with the service’s frequency of usage being rather low considering its large volume of users.

*In descending order by people reporting usage of once or more per day.
Of the SNS examined in the survey, only those with over a 5% rate of usage have been included.
*Users of each SNS serves as the denominator.

■”Facebook” and “mixi” are “too much work”

So why is the usage frequency of “Facebook” and “mixi” decreasing? Within the survey, participants were also asked what they thought about each SNS. I would like to compare two of the noticeable responses, “it has become too much work/ a chore to use”, and “I would be in trouble without it”.
The SNS with the highest ratio of users expressing that it had “become too much work” were “mixi” at 29%, followed by “Facebook” at 23%. It was discovered that roughly one in four users of “Facebook” and “mixi” expressed feelings that the SNS had become a chore to use. Oppositely, users who expressed feelings that they “would be in trouble without it” made of 6% of “Facebook” users, and only 4% of “mixi” users, the lowest of all the results.

*Users of each SNS serves as the denominator.

■It is important to lower the “hurdle” of posting!

Something “mixi” and “Facebook” have in common, is that it is slightly more difficult to create a post. These two SNS are used to relay current situations to connected individuals, and exchange information and interact with others belonging to the same community.

It can be seen that “mixi” and “Facebook” have many functions that serve to support the connections between people, and both place a high value on community. Therefore, the content of a post comes to hold greater meaning, raising the “hurdle”, or difficulty, of making a post, and causing users to find the process too troublesome. Another reason the services may be thought of as tiresome, is the need to diligently check the posts of, and reply to, others who view your posts in order to maintain relationships.
Looking at this trend, what is suspicious is “Instagram”. With a feature to process images when posting, and with most posted images being made stylish before being uploaded, it could be thought that “Instagram” also has a fairly high difficulty level for posting. According to the survey results, while the ratio of people who answered “it was becoming too much work” was the lowest, that answer was still more common than those who answered that they “would be in trouble without it”, albeit only by 2 points.
However, with content in recent “Instagram” updates including the implementation of features for posts which disappear in time, live videos and real-time functions, the ability to post multiple photos at once, etc., it would appear as though they are attempting to lower the difficulty associated with making a post. This could explain why many people’s frequency of usage has increased. If everyday posts start to make their way to “Instagram”, “twitter” may next find its position in jeopardy.

New SNS services are expected to be released in the future, and currently popular services will have to fight for their survival. Which SNS will reign supreme next year? I am hoping to continue to watch SNS trends.

■Recommended Articles

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・What is the appeal of seeing idols close up?

(Article: Tsugumi Komuro)

Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.

(※1)Fields Yoka Survey 2017
A web survey carried out in December 2016 which surveyed 11,646 people across the nation from elementary school age to 69 years of age. It queried their behaviors in relation to and their sense of values regarding free time.

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