Pew study: Are the kids getting social network fatigue?

Pew came out with an interesting study on social network usage today. Some of the data tells me that we may be seeing the end of the “growth phase” for social network adoption.

Check out this chart:

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The data shows social network adoption all age groups from 2005 to end of 2012. Not surprisingly, overall adoption has slowed and even plateaued as time marched on. However, what is really interesting is recent steep drop from August to December across all age segments, with the exception of the 30-49 age bracket.

The most worrisome trend – if I’m a Facebook stockholder – is the nearly 10% drop in social network usage among younger users from 92% to 83%. Younger users tend to lead the overall market, and while I don’t think they are giving up on social long-term, I think some are getting bored with the choices available to them.

Where might they be going? Let’s look at adoption breakdown of some of the newer social nets:

First, the Tumblr Age Breakdown:

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 4.47.30 PM

And now Instagram Age Breakdown:

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Notice the big difference in adoption among young users. With Tumblr, while overall adoption is just 6% of US Internet using adults, it’s more than twice that among young users. And while Instagram adoption is at 13% of Internet adults, it’s more than twice that for the 18-29 age bracket.

Should Facebook be worried? A little. After all, as I’ve said before, Facebook is the General Motors of social nets, a multipurpose, goliath social network that’s starting to show its age. It’s also the one that has attracted quite a few older folks, as can be seen below:

Facebook Age Breakdown:

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And we all know there’s nothing that turns away the young ones more than their own mom or dad.

Check out the full report here.