This post was written by Mirna Bard, a social media consultant, speaker, author and instructor of social media at the University of California at Irvine.

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: Do you believe social networking has reached its saturation point?

  • No — there is plenty of room for growth and newcomers — 46.15%
  • Not yet, but we may be getting close to that point — 30.04%
  • Yes — the number of social networks is getting overwhelming — 21.61%
  • Not sure — it’s all confusing to me — 2.20%

I’ve heard the above question asked since probably 2008. The truth is, no one can absolutely predict where social networking is headed. Anything can happen — popular social networking websites may go under and new ones may be on the rise; users may drop off and new generations may jump on.

Although a recent report from eMarketer predicts a slowdown in social networking in the next couple of years, I still don’t think we are remotely close to the saturation point. Call it a hunch, but I feel there is a lot more room for growth and newcomers, whether it’s the number of users or the amount of social networks.

The main reason I have this gut feeling is because there have been numerous conflicting reports over the years about the growth and popularity of social networks. One report may point toward the growth of social networking, and another may predict its decline. It sure seems misleading, doesn’t it?

Of course, nothing lasts forever. Every trend reaches a saturation point when it matures. However, many people are still joining social networking sites and there are still many that have yet to join. Remember, with each new wave of users, social networking will become even more a part of everyday life than it was before.

In addition, whether Facebook will always be the shiny object is yet to be seen. There is plenty of room and potential for the rise of new websites that are more appealing than existing social networks. Today’s sites have only opened our eyes to all the ocean of possibilities, and the party on the social Web is just getting started.

So, the question is, not whether social networking has reached its saturation point, but when will it reach this point? Where do you think we are with social networking, and do you see it slowing anytime soon?

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7 Responses to “Has social networking reached its saturation point?”

  1. @vik1toria says:

    I don't think it necessarily matters when social media reaches its saturation point…if it does at all. We may find ourselves laughing about the phenomenon that was 'Twitter' in a few years but that will only be because we have moved on to bigger and better things (most probably more superior versions of the social media platforms we are using now). To not be involved with the current marketing strategies will just leave you even further behind with the next ones. Social Media may fizzle out, but it will still have acted as the stepping stone to the next best thing

  2. Peggy Dau says:

    Aren't we social by nature and don't social networks allow us to connect in ways not available 10 years ago on the internet? It's not about social media reaching a saturation point, it's about which social networks allow us to connect with the people or companies we want, when we want, how we want. Be that by Twitter, Facebook or some new platform that best meets our yet undefined needs. So far, we've reacted to what is available, but have we demanded what we really want? Do we know what we really want?

  3. Yeah, saturation point is kind of a meaningless observation. Every new beginning is some other new beginnings end. So, it's not like the value is diminished in any-way. You might lose the 'early' adopter opportunity…I guess

  4. @KBucketeer says:

    Not sure what you mean by saturation point? Will more people be using Social Media? For what purpose? What is the context? Where is the data that helps people have an informed opinion? Evertthing reaches a saturation point – thats the nature of life – Not sure what to make of this post!!

  5. Well.. not yet… people (not internet Marketer) are still using it for stay connected to friends, chatting, sharing video and all however internet marketer are also using it for marketing of their services, products.

    I don't feel it has reached saturation level yet.

  6. Based on the number of users going up on Social Media Sites, I would have to conclude that is has not reached its saturation point. There is a possibility of users not staying on the sites for prolonged periods as the weather improves but I do think they will all still check in. With any business, there are peaks and valleys. We will have to see when we reach the valleys. Keep in mind just because it's not being vastly reported anymore doesn't mean it's gone. It just means that people and businesses are catching on and applying it where it's appropriate.

    -Carolyn Martin, Founder, Social Media Demand
    Follow us http://www.facebook.com/socialmediademand or Twiter @syncsocialmedia

  7. Based on the number of users going up on Social Media Sites, I would have to conclude that is has not reached its saturation point. There is a possibility of users not staying on the sites for prolonged periods as the weather improves but I do think they will all still check in. With any business, there are peaks and valleys. We will have to see when we reach the valleys. Keep in mind just because it's not being vastly reported anymore doesn't mean it's gone. It just means that people and businesses are catching on and applying it where it's appropriate.

    -Carolyn Martin, Founder, Social Media Demand
    Follow us http://www.facebook.com/socialmediademand or Twitter @syncsocialmedia Reply
    0 replies · active less than 1 minute ago

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