For the past few months, trend trackers have been talking about people leaving mainstream social networks because they take up too much time, give away too much private information, and are filled with too many Farmville updates. Some consumers are migrating to more niche networks, and others are giving up on social networks entirely.
I’ve just seen the first quantitative data that captures this trend. The graph above is the Google trend line for “Delete Facebook Account” searches. The phrase didn’t even register until 2009, and now it is shooting up like a rocket. The controversy over Facebook’s Open Graph API and “instant personalization” have certainly added momentum. But even without the past month’s data, there’s a clear trendline pointing up, up, up.
I haven’t been able to find any data about people joining niche networks or going back to connecting with their friends via email and phone calls. I’ll keep looking.
Meanwhile, do you think consumers are more likely to quit social networks entirely, or switch to smaller ones that more closely match their personalities and interests?