PARIS--Bad news, would-be social networking startups.
"Social is running out of hours. Social is also running out of people," concluded George Colony, chief executive of analyst firm Forrester Research, speaking today at the LeWeb conference here. What he means: people don't have any extra time for social networking, and it's a saturated market.
The company bases its findings on consumer research. For example, regarding saturation, Forrester found that 86 percent of people have adopted social networking services. In Canada, it's 88 percent, and in Poland, 95 percent. Urban areas of China are at 97 percent.
And in terms of time spent, social networking consumes more time than going to church; communicating by phone, e-mail, and snail mail; and exercising. "It's just a little less than shopping and child care," Colony said.
Today's status quo won't last, he predicted.
"We are in a bubble for social startups," he said. When it bursts, "this is going to sweep away some of the nonsense, like FourSquare. We are going to move to a post-social world that's a little like the Web in the year 2000. A lot of companies launched, but they did not survive."
The next wave of social services will be "more efficient and more time-saving," he said.