Social Enterprise

Is Facebook finished?

We've seen the rapid rise of Facebook; are we going to see it die just as quickly as it burst in to life?

We've seen the rapid rise of Facebook; are we going to see it die just as quickly as it burst in to life? Back in September 2006 Facebook was in negotiations with Yahoo with up to $1 billon on the table. One of Facebook's board members, Peter Thiel, indicated that the company valued itself at $8 billion based on projected revenues for 2015. In October 2007 Microsoft announced it had bought a 1.6% stake in Facebook for $246 million. That would put the valuation of the Web site at a whopping $15 billion!

So what makes a social networking Web site that valuable? Facebook's only real stream of income is via advertising (plus investors of course). What makes a company want to advertise on Facebook? Facebook can target ads at very specific groups of people meaning that they are delivered directly to the people being targeted by the retailer. That's very valuable, but it relies on the user base and this is why Facebook may be about to take a tumble. Why? Quite simply because social networking Web sites come and go. There have been too many to mention and eventually people get bored with them and move on to something new. Peter Thiel's assumption that there would still be a Facebook in 2015 is most likely fatally flawed.

Five percent fewer people in the UK visited Facebook in January than in the previous month. That's 400,000 people who decided not to log on anymore. I've had three or four friends tell me they've left Facebook in the past few weeks. One of the biggest complaints was the pointless garbage generated in bulk by applications--someone throws a chicken at all of their friends, someone else sends a video, and so on. Personally, I refuse to install the applications and ignore the constant requests to install them. I think that's probably going to be the reason most people get sick of it; Facebook was great as a way of keeping in touch with your friends. They should have kept it simple--friends, photos, groups and messaging. What more does a social networking site need?

Unfortunately, I think Facebook is doomed to the same fate as MySpace which saw 14% of its UK users disappear over the past three months. I bet Yahoo are glad they didn't pay $1 billion for it!

25 comments
taher.afridi
taher.afridi

Here in Dubai, FB has become a part of everyone's lives. It's so easy to set up a personal site but who can keep track of everyone's web space and addresses etc? That's what FB offers, a centralized web location under the social networking umbrella where u can easily get to ur friends and share more than just comments and pictures. People here open groups for events, clubs get populated.. private parties and invitations, guest lists.. seminar registration and attendance.. It affects businesses as well, this famous cafe/lounge turned restaurant that wanted to keep a classier elder crowd didn't welcome youngsters anymore.. A FB group opened against them and they lost a lot of customers based on people's reports and reviews.. lotsa stories like that. More importantly, it's an online trend. U have to keep up or be left out.

basy27
basy27

well well well, so what's next after social networking????

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

Some channels survive & grow. Others have a cult following but never hit the big time. Most shrink & die.

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

Um, one month is not much of a yardstick, you need to look at least one order up over your data to get something useful. So lets look at the last 10 months. In addition, is the UK's behavior indicative of the rest of the world? What evidence do you have to support this claim? Perhaps social networking isn't the "in" think in the UK anymore, but that definitely doesn't mean Facebook is finished. On the other hand, I agree with you on the "keep it simple, stupid" principle. Facebook apps are a Pandora's box that may be impossible to close. I recently joined a group that is attemptimg to have the "invite your friends" feature removed from all applications. If we can convince Facebook that they must disallow this "feature" from apps, it would go a long way to improving the user experience.

Lorettathome
Lorettathome

I tend to agree with the writer. I am on facebook, I joined b.c my kids were on it, and so many friends and family were so easy to keep up with on a daily bases. I liked that all of us could interact together and see each others posts and so forth. All the applications and spamming however is too carried away, I dont like that one cant personalize their pages as one would like either. I had a myspace page but only used it about a month, I was more into creating it than using it. I think it is a fad too that will see its way into the past and be replaced by the next new wave. As for the advertising, I never look at that anyway, thats the annoying part of these and what I ignore almost as much as all the application sent. For now though it is cheaper than long distance and conference calling, so I will continue to keep in touch with others this way until a bigger and better program happens along.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The social-networking sites always struck me as the follow-on to the personal web sites of the late 90s or the internet equivalent of reality shows: full of sound and fury, signifying nothing much. With luck, Myspace will settle in as a place for artists of all types (musical, film, etc.) to promote themselves and test the waters. That's the only reason I ever went there in the first place.

CG IT
CG IT

one day your in the next your out. Or so Heidi Klum says on Bravo. Social networking is for Jr. High and High School kids where they spend all their time gossiping. Advertising ads on the internet like spam rely on that old adage: Throw enough mud on the wall, some might stick. Advertisers fail to see that usually what's left is a muddy wall no one likes.

mcghome
mcghome

I am actually not much of an online web community, so I was probably the last one I know to sign up for facebook and also probably the least to use it, but I do use it, once in a while. I think these social networking websites will go through their maturity cycles like other ideas, but at the end they will stay. My problem is, every other day another one comes up and so to sign up I have to reenter all my info and if I dont sign up and accept one of my freinds invitation, I risk appearing not freindly. So they have me on Hi5, to linkedin. I do like linkedin, because for work I can link up with people for business purposes and give references and get recomendations and all. But what we really need is a centralized system that keeps your info and automatically signs you up for any system you want. It is simple to develop with all the web navigation api's I have used a fee on Java, but then it saves time. Also this centralized system can also delete your membership and do stuff like maybe have one way of doing things and then it translates to all the clicks on each site. Software people just dont accept the world as it is, and if we did, we would never move forward :).

seth
seth

I enjoy using facebook to talk to my college buddies, but the applications just keep getting worse and worse. Everyday I check my email and have about a half dozen add on requests from Facebook. There's very few that I have actually added, but the emails still bug me and make me just avoid Facebook more and more.

CG IT
CG IT

In my opinion, advertisers and the $$ they have to spend on pitching products to the general public creates the demand or popularity of a product or service. They pitch "to be cool" to the most impressionable, young kids who all want to be cool. To be cool, one has a facebook page or a myspace page. To be cool, one has a nifty cell phone, or the most trendy clothes, etc. Advertisers create this "demand" and can take away "the demand" just as easliy as they created it, simply by virtue of what they do, create demand. I think the 70s rock band Styx sums up what advertising is really well with their song "The Grand Illusion" . Some investor will come up with another gadget or add on to cell phones which will allow "social networking" and advertizing will want to spend their $$ getting ads on cell phones. Your phone will no longer be a phone to talk, it'll have advertising on it. So advertisers will stop spending their ad $$ on web sites and start spending their ad $$ on phone ads. Facebook and myspace were "In" and now when phone advertising starts, they will be "Out".

herlizness
herlizness

> Loretta ... you haven't heard about Skype? anyway, that business about telling everyone what you just purchased on the 'net is too much for me ... they may have stopped that but who knows what's coming next?

DanLM
DanLM

Sorry, that summed up my thoughts on both. Didn't see them come to the online community, igorned them when they got here, and will not even miss them when they go away. I want to share pictures, I have a web site. I want to talk to people: yahoo, windows live, irc... And if I really like the person, they will have my phone number. Never took the time, never will. Dan

herlizness
herlizness

> centralized system .. one way of doing things ... delete your membership ... ? sounds like the "old" Communist China and Soviet Union ... they're moving forward and we're moving backward ... what a mess ...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...if I dont sign up and accept one of my freinds invitation, I risk appearing not freindly." How many of these invitations are from real friends and how many are from people who were complete strangers before you bumped into them on the Internet? Tell them you're already on more social sites than you can keep up with. Gently remind them friends were able to stay in touch using other methods long before social sites or the Internet were invented. If they're really your friends, they'll understand. If they don't understand, screw 'em.

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

People send me what seem to be harmless requests, such as "watch this video" or "rate me as a friend", but when you click on it, it tries to install yet another Facebook application that I don't want. I have a post on my profile page that lets everyone know that I will not be adding any more apps, but I still continue to receive invites. People, I am just here to keep in touch with you, not play Pirates vs Ninjas !

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

* When WW II ends in 1945 with Japan's defeat in China, the Nationalists and the Communist forces fight a civil war for control of China. The Communists are victorious in 1949 and the Nationalists leave the mainland of China and establish a rival government on the island of Taiwan. (The rival governments continue to exist today as the People's Republic of China on the mainland and the Republic of China on Taiwan.) * In October 1949, Mao Tse-tung declares the establishment of the People's Republic of China and proclaims that "the Chinese people have stood up" after 100 years of subjugation by foreign powers on China's soil. * Mao and his particular vision of communism in China dominate from 1949 until his death in 1976. The Maoist period is characterized by mass mobilization and the prominence of ideology. The Great Leap Forward of 1956-58 and the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 are Maoist campaigns designed, in the first instance, to bring China up to the level of the developed nations by an economic "great leap" and, in the second instance, to rid Chinese culture of impediments to the communist society Mao envisions. The Great Leap Forward results in an estimated 30,000 deaths from famine; the Cultural Revolution pits Chinese against Chinese in brutal persecution. * After Mao's death, Deng Xiaoping introduces the "Open Door" policy of economic liberalization with elements of a market economy that has brought China into the global economy and led to rapid economic modernization in China. * Despite the continued expansion of a market economy in China, the Chinese Communist Party still governs China with few signs of political liberalization. The suppression of the 1989 student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square testifies to this, as does the continued imprisonment of political dissidents and political activists promoting a multi-party system. YES...OLD! When you remove your blinkers, we can chat.

mcghome
mcghome

Well, I meant a system that you would enter all your info, pictures and interests and just select from a list of sites to initially populate while registering. People do not have to use it, but if they did it would save them the initial setup time. They can use the individual site's interface afterwards to do update and then sync it with the centralized system, or update it from the central system. I am all for the creativity here, and hence this system.

herlizness
herlizness

yes, old .. have you spent any time in China within the past 10 years? didn't think so ... when you come back, let's talk

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

Oranges would have been giving too much credit. A centralized system would be absolutely nothing like communist China. What was requested was a management progam that the USER could use to control his/her memberships. At the very least, they could come up with a standard .xml type template that all sites would accept so that you could store the info locally, then upload it when registering a new site.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

Any of my friends dumb enough to attempt to pressure gets the short stick... I really have no problems saying No, or just ignoring the offers. If they get offended by that.. its the least of their worries as my friend.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

and somewhat close to what I like, thanks for sharing.