Last year for the first time I found some of my students reporting that they had stopped using Facebook/Bebo/similar and even deleted their accounts - and over the past few years have consistently found that many students do not use the sites.
The Guardian reports on findings from Ofcom that teens are now spending less time on social networking sites http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/aug/06/young-abandon-social-ne...

"Although their love of being online shows no sign of abating, the percentage of 15- to 24-year-olds who have a profile on a social networking site has dropped for the first time – from 55% at the start of last year to 50% this year. In contrast, 46% of 25- to 34-year-olds are now regularly checking up on sites such as Facebook compared with 40% last year."

The same report shows high take up in the use of social networking by younger teens though.

Personally I suspect one issue will be the competition for different forms of social networking competing for attention - gamertags, xbox live, facebook, etc etc... and an adoption curve where a new platform gains enthusiastic converts who then slowly and over time drift away to the next platform (or fall back to their last social network...)

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Tags: Bebo, Facebook, Networking, Social

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Comment by Michael Robertson on December 15, 2009 at 16:14
With my personal experience of bebo I would say that the random add requests from so called "hot women/men" is a pain that I can't be bothered with. There is a general lack of policing on these sorts of sites that I've noticed and the majority of them don't have anything on their profile except a "hot" (*cough* deseperate *cough*) person.

To be honest the only reason I ever got a bebo was the amount of requests I was getting from people I know and not to be a trend killer I followed.

I think that the sites in general are poorly done, you can barely find anything on facebook and bebo is just a mess of stuff stuck together with duct tape (HCI lessons 101).

My preference to xbox live is due to the direct chat options available and being able to connect to friends more though the new party chat has brought yet more networking problems and some games are refusing to allow it at all.

So as a 24 male on the cusp of becoming 25, I say social networking has its place in my life as I'm going to be frequenting sites like this and linked in more often as they are actually productive places. However sites like bebo and facebook I will only be using as "fun"(used very lightlu).
Comment by Liam Friel on September 4, 2009 at 10:54
Social Networking will, as with most trends, eventually become less popular, I think facebook is the winner of the social networking wars as it is indeed an incredibly felxible and simple to use website. I found an interesting article in the daily mail about the workforce and their abuse of the internet. In terms of student I think it is simply they are fed up of the marketing/bogus friend requests forced in your face and an understanding of what social networking does with your data, doubled with the fact that ranting on social networks tend to have consequences.

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