"Someone once told me that Facebook (FB) would be a great service if you un-friended 90% of your friends," writes Tech.pinions' Ben Bajarin, highlighting what he views as a core problem with the social networking colossus.
While Facebook users may initially find "the joy of discovery and connecting" with people they know 'a very sticky experience," the service eventually "becomes more about maintaining than connecting," and feeds filled with far more "noise" than interesting material. Meanwhile, limiting one's friends list to close/interesting contacts would drastically limit the amount of fresh material showing up.
Twitter (TWTR), as Bajarin notes, has a very different problem. New users can have a much harder time finding contacts who are active users (that might be contributing to Twitter's heavy churn). But those who hang around often find plenty of compelling material delivered by non-contacts.
Moreover, while Facebook is encroaching on Twitter's turf by encouraging more posting of public material - outside of celebrities and businesses, success has been moderate thus far - Twitter is trying to appeal to Facebook users by allowing images, videos, and cards to appear within timelines.
Facebook's problem is of particular relevance following a Q3 in which North American MAUs rose by only 1M Q/Q, and U.S. teen DAUs declined; the latter revelation follows surveys and anecdotal reports pointing to declining popularity with U.S. teens, who have acted as trendsetters for many Web services (including Facebook, back in its college-only days). North America accounted for 48% of Facebook's Q3 revenue.
But while U.S. teens may be cutting down on their Facebook use, they're dialing up their Instagram use just as the mobile photo-sharing platform begins showing feed ads. An online ad exec: "If you factor in Instagram, you would find that Facebook as a company is actually increasing engagement with teens."