Blog Post

The Rise of the Social Media Sabbatical and What it Portends

The rise of the social media sabbatical is here. It's time to diversify your communications tactics.
January 17, 2019
Guy relaxing

“What do Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande have in common, besides being famous singers?

They each have talked about how social media has negatively affected their mental health, going as far as suspending their social media profiles for extended periods.

Facebook admitted in a December 2017 release that, “when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward.”

The way we have been talking about and experiencing social media has prompted me to go out on a limb with a prediction: 2019 is the year of Peak Social Media (at least in the United States).

As evidence, I offer the following:

  • There is a movement of teens who are logged off, refusing to use social media.
  • Facebook’s recent string of lapses in privacy have scared away millions of Americans.
  • Twitter is hemorrhaging monthly active users.
  • SnapChat saw its audience engagement decline for the first time ever.

The movement away from social media will be driven partially by some of the same factors that led to the Slow Food and Buy Local movements (e.g., seeking a closer in-person connection to those around us).

While consumers won’t completely unplug from social media in 2019 — or maybe ever — they will make more thoughtful decisions about how much time they invest in these platforms.

So what’s the implication for 2019?

Organizations that have relied primarily on social media to disseminate messages and “engage” their audiences will struggle, while organizations that have invested in personalization and one-on-one engagement will benefit as people seek more meaningful connections.


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