"(Facebook's) decline in growth is inevitable because Facebook is literally running out of humans. Facebook has signed up more than 50% of all Internet users on Earth." - Ian Maude, Enders Analysis
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/decline-of-facebook-user-numbers-2014-4#ixzz3L3Uf35Ru
In January of 2014, there was a much publicized article by Princeton University that cited the decline of Facebook and it's impending doom. The researchers there even asserted it would be completely dead by 2017. This set off a chain of articles online where lots of smart people weighed in on the reasons for this decline. The suggestions go in many directions but usually settle on varying degrees of:
- there are only so many people in the world
- teen audiences have moved on to other services
- users simply just lost interest.
Now, I am not really wanting to discuss all the reasons WHY Facebook might be in decline or the long lasting implications of the effect certain factors will have on it as a business. I am more interested in discussing how everyone is looking at it wrong. Essentially, you should care about Facebook and here is why.
The very competition that everyone points to as the cause for the downfall are all examples of what is right about Facebook. The growing popularity of services like Tumblr, Instagram, and especially Snapchat are all reasons why I think Facebook should be considered just as important. Having teens in the house myself, I see how the allure of Facebook for them has definitely weakened when compared to the older (30+) audience that seems prevalent there now. Many of the younger generation have embraced Snapchat as the hot item (of the moment). However, everything there is temporary (exactly the point of it). It leaves no lasting impact and "self-destructs" the message or picture like it never happened in some Mission Impossible (would they even get that reference?) sequence. What kind of imprint is it leaving in the long run? Absolutely nothing. There is no "throwing back" to a moment except in your own memory. For some things I suppose that is better, but for the few reasons I outline below, there is strength in the long-term effect of having a public and lasting profile:
- Journal of Events & Memories
- Private Groups for local commerce
- Facebook Login on Other Sites
In summary, there will always be negative aspects of all social media like annoying pictures/posts, ridiculous opinions on politics/religion, and other random general drama. Yet, we should make the distinction that those are all the side-effects of the users and not the service. What other service provides all of the added perks I mentioned above...for free? Besides, anyone who remembers being on MySpace and moving to Facebbok can relate to "starting over" on a new network. Sometimes the demons you know are better than the angels you don't.