Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Facebook finally hitting the wall?

Inside Facebook, a site that tracks the metrics of the world's favorite social network, is making a splash with new data suggesting the meteoric growth of Facebook might finally be peaking. After having gained at least 20 million new members a month over the past year, Facebook picked up 13.9 million in April and 11.8 million in May. Could be nothing. Could be Facebook, with nearly half the U.S. population and nearly 700 million worldwide, is finally maxing out.

My highly unscientific theory: Facebook just isn't for everyone. (Lots of commenters to this blog aren't shy about reminding me of that). And as more and more businesses get on Facebook, and more and more people play games, and more and more people "friend" people who aren't actually their friends (the bigger your network, the more impressive your social profile), the more uninteresting/impersonal clutter starts turning up in your news stream. And the more "noise" in your stream, the less likely you are to visit.

That's not to say I think Facebook is in any immediate danger of losing its chokehold on the social networking scene. But the novelty has definitely worn off. The only thing left to hold people is quality/interesting content. And Facebook has little control over that. Its vast unpaid army of content producers -- i.e., us -- decide that. If we get tired of listening to each other blabber on about current events or get weary of thumbing through friends' vacation pictures, we'll eventually stop logging on. The future of Facebook, or any other social network -- or any business, really -- is entirely up to us.

I don't think we've reached the point of Facebook fatigue yet. But if indeed there's a wall out there for Facebook, we're close to it. Mark Zuckerberg and Co. will really have to earn their money from here on.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I dont agree, more and more people i work with and frineds with count on facebook, instead of newspaper and websites for things to do and events to attend. Me and my business advertise (free) on facebook and it really helps the business.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree.

Facebook has also really dropped the ball with their App development as well. The App for iPhone is atrocious... full of bugs and constantly has problems.

Anonymous said...

Farcebook is a joke that millions of people have fallen for.

Wiley Coyote said...

Facebook...

Real life equivalent to the movie "Surrogates"...

People hiding behind an electronic personna.

Anonymous said...

I found some folks via Facebook that I hadn't communicated with in a long time. It was fun to catch up but then I very quickly realized why I hadn't spoken with them in a long time - it was because I didn't care about them or their miserable life.

Anonymous said...

How many people have signed up multiple times? How many are still counted, but haven't used Facebook for months (years)?
I know one guy who is signed up under 8 "aliases". The girls he "talks" with don't know he is talking with them under several names.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that for once I think the writer has hit the nail on the head. I am one he speaks of that has no use for facebook and most people I know that use it, I think a lot less of as a person.

That being said, the first comment above couldn't be more wrong, but of course those addicted to facebook know nothing but defending it. Unfortuantely, if you are a business owner that onely adverstises on facebook, then you are losing customers. You'd be surprised how much business you're losing. Furthermore, if I know your business ONLY advertises on facebook, then I will never be a customer. This trending fad is losing its luster. Just wait and see.

Anonymous said...

I love it when you bring up facts about how Facebook is crawling with pedophiles, rapists, stalkers, thieves, and people using false information. The Facebook crowd gets immediately defensive and say it's a lie, or that Facebook can't help that. Guess they just have to be a victim in order to understand.

"Facebook is a great way for me to run in to my friends from the past and find out about events". Um, right. Keep up that fantasy, but you can't ignore the facts.

Anonymous said...

"Me and my business advertise on Facebook".

My business and I advertise on Facebook?
or
My business advertises on Facebook?

Busted out laughing at the teen with 354 "friends and family members" programed into her cell phone at the Verizon store.

Like, whatever.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Facebook. You have also now ruined the true meaning of the word "Friend".

Anonymous said...

Facebook is a dangerous device that can be used maliciously and with little regard for established laws regarding libel and/or slander. I had a recent run-in and FB is nowhere to be found to help. Too many people are basing their entire life on the world of an impersonal, devisive, and very destructive tool.

Daddy Phat Sacks said...

New FaceBook Slogan?

"FaceBook...It's for the GHEYs!!!"

Anonymous said...

What the hell does that mean?

Anonymous said...

It's not just gays who use Facebook as a means for sexual escapades. The straight trash from Epicenter uses it for the same. Hell, just ask Congressman Weiner! He said that he wouldn't have been able to send obscene photographs and talk sex if it weren't for Facebook!

But remember, Facebook helps us keep in touch with our high school friends and know when church events are!!!

Anonymous said...

Facebook is done. Just like Myspace, ringo, Hi5, and all those other sites, itll lose its hype.

Anonymous said...

Facebook = Facade Book ....everybody is happy, happy, happy, proud of their husband, wife, children, going on vacation (stupid enough to post).... the most inane mundane pap you ever want to read or see. A friend lets me scan it now and then. Big waste of time. I keep it touch with friends and family via email - privately. And also the old-fashioned way - face-to-face visits (if nearby) and by phone. The fad is fading.

Anonymous said...

PS from Anon 12:40 p.m. -- and you know those pictures you foolishly post. ID Thieves are capturing them and using them to create new identities. Another huge downside.

Anonymous said...

"Facebook just isn't for everyone." I totally agree. FB won't be going away, and it will continue to grow, but as Eric says, at a slower pace.

I believe a more realistic measure of FB would be to track the number of "active" users; for example, the number of users who have logged in at least once per week for the last four weeks. A weekly tracking of a statistic like that would have some real meaning.

Anonymous said...

You know you're old when...

1. You are forced to sit through a CMS orientation that includes 20 minutes reviewing social networking policies and stupidities. Like, don't post yourself all over the internet sitting at the beach with a beer in your hand wearing a gold lame thong if you are a teacher who told their principal they had to take personal leave days to have an emergency root canal.

Jeremy said...

Funny how people are commenting about users of FB as if they have no life and are 'hiding' behind a virtual world, yet are posting their views on here as 'anonymous'. FB is not going anywhere, and they bet $500 million on it to build a new server facility in Kings Mountain. Just because you don't understand or "get" something doesn't mean it won't last or is dumb. It's real simple, if you don't like it or don't understand it, don't use it. But don't chastise those who do. Now, enough negativity for me, I'm going to check my wall.

Brent said...

Bottom line-Time for Facebook to more effectively monetize their franchise in the face of more limited growth After all-gotta justify that $100 Billion valuation somehow.

Think I'll avoid their coming IPO though

Anonymous said...

FB is awesome...just joined in feb and have over 100 friends,mostly who i had forgotten about or who i would have only seen at a wedding or funeral.I love it!!! Some people use it to make themselves out to be brad pitt or pippa middleton,and fb by far has made myspace obsolete,but anyone who has a fb account can't say it hasn't enhanced their lives.Now for the high schoolers who post every 10 minutes or boring adults who have to post every hour that they got up and made coffee,made bacon and eggs,took a dump,read the newspaper and will water the garden veggies shortly....WHO CARES and get a life!!!

dwg1211 said...

I've deactivated my Facebook account and am learning/using Twitter instead. I like being able to anonymously follow who I want, whether they be a sports/news personality or someone I know without having to (always) be 'accepted'. Facebook is just too personal for my liking.

Anonymous said...

It has its uses though. When a young man went missing a few weeks back, the news spread like wildfire and mobilized search groups & the like with incredible speed. That's invaluable when you're working against time to find a missing person.

Anonymous said...

There's no longevity with social media, look at MySpace. Facebook replaced MySpace in popularity, and Twitter is doing the same with Facebook and will likely be replaced by something else in the future.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah. Facebook was real powerful in helping with that 'missing young man' when it later turned out he was in Asheville partying it up. Very nice.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I too am obsessed with Facebook, but Twitter has me more obsessed. I can stalk people without them every knowing it! Thank God! They keep on posting where they were, where the are, and where they are going every few minutes! Stalkers, thieves, and the like - REJOICE! (Sarcasm noted for the record).

Anonymous said...

How dare you complain about Facebook! Whaaaaaaa.......whaaaaaaa. Don't you talk bad about Facebook, it's saved my pathetic life. Whaaaaaaaaaa.

Anonymous said...

Why do so many people who apparently dislike social media read a blog about social media, and then take time to comment on it? Puzzling.

Anonymous said...

I love facebook. I look at it a couple of times a day, and get a little update on what my friends and family are up to. Its fun, and i get to feel like I'm up on what's going on with everyone without trying to call everyone and talk to them individually. Naturally some people can take this to the extreme, but for me its a nice thing to have.

Anonymous said...

Haters gonna hate..

chupacabra said...

I use FB to keep up with my extended family and a few friends. I made the mistake of messing around with farmville and ended up getting a rather shocking number of farmvillespam from a couple of people I vaguely remember from high school.

I wonder how many young kids posting their entire lives online are going to tire of it when they realize those awesome pictures of them with a bong at that party are why they can't get an interview. I warned one of my nephews about this very thing. His problem was not pictures that he posted but pictures that other people posted who tagged him.

Anonymous said...

"Haters gonna hate"? Ok, and I guess childlike-teenage wannabe addicts are gonna be fools. Good luck with your 'virtual' life.

Anonymous said...

"...get a little update on what my friends and family are up to. Its fun, and i get to feel like I'm up on what's going on with everyone." Wow, how about not being such a creepy stalker. That's half the problem now: You can know everything I'm up to without making any effort to actually speak with me or ask.

Anonymous said...

I have a skeletal profile on Facebook, done at the behest of a former boss.

I never used it and never will.

All that personal information, blasted into cyberspace. Creepy. And stupid.

And twitter...what is the point of "following" someone's 140-character bleat every few hours?

140 characters?

We have an entire generation of people who have forgotten how to communicate via voice and complete sentences.

Anonymous said...

"Oh yeah. Facebook was real powerful in helping with that 'missing young man' when it later turned out he was in Asheville partying it up. Very nice."

My original comment went right over your head. Facebook allowed a massive exchange of information and mobilized ppl to locate him with speed. Goal accomplished with the aid of social media.

Anonymous said...

Like I totally get it. A, yeah.

johndiv23 said...

Facebook has a lot more usage than being famous or getting as many fans or friends as possible. I personally use it to keep in touch with friends and family. And I met some old friends i never thought i'd meet again. It depends oh how you use Facebook.

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