Teens love Nexopia’s Anonymity

Over on Canada.com today, Canwest’s Misty Harris wonders aloud if Facebook fatigue is setting in with page views on the popular social networking site down one per cent over the last three months. This may not seem like a significant drop but if you compare it to Facebook’s growth trajectory to date, the decline may be foreshadowing a new trend. In contrast, niche social networking sites like Edmonton-based Nexopia continue to flourish.

Although it’s too early to declare full-fledged Facebook fatigue, the writing on the wall – metaphorically and literally, since site members use a “Wall” to communicate – suggests disenchantment among the ranks. According to traffic monitor Alexa Internet, page views on the social networking site are down one per cent over the last three months as of Jan. 16. By contrast, rival Canadian site Nexopia, which launched a year earlier and is arguably more vulnerable to user ennui, continues to trend upward. The Alberta-based site, which caters to the 14 to 20 demographic, has seen page views climb 31 per cent over the same three-month period, with members – nine in 10 of them Canadian – up nearly 20 per cent. It may be as simple as the first law of nature: Teenagers, as a matter of self-preservation, don’t want to be where their parents are.

Makes sense really. While the 60 million member strong Facebook (seven million of which are Canadian) has become the “national water cooler for adults”, Nexopia has attracting the younger set and currenly has 1.2 million members. Only six per cent of Nexopia’s members over 22 years of age. Nexopia got its start when founder Timo Ewalds was in Grade 12 and his school banned floppy disks as a security measure. He created Nexopia as a way to send files home and later realized that the site would work well for interacting with friends. By the time Ewalds was in university, the project had grown to the point that he dropped out of school to foster Nexopia full time. Nexopia is #1 on January’s Alberta Start-up Index, so I suspect we’ll be hearing more from Oil-country this year.