The Rise and Fall of Facebook

The phrase “you created a monster” is used a lot in a bunch of different contexts; however, one unusual usage I’m finding is in the world of social media

Facebook was the “it” thing to be doing when I first joined, back in the fall of 2004. However, things were substantially different; there were no apps, there was no security settings, meaning that you either saw everything on someone’s profile if they attended the same university, or next to nothing if they didn’t (unless they were on your list); the wall function, which we take for granted so much, was ancient in terms of its development. Then, it changed, expanded, and evolved.

However, in the process, it either destroyed or consumed its competitors, with a few exceptions. It seemed like nothing would derail Facebook in 2006-7. However, the previous two years have taught me that Facebook is progressively hitting the glass ceiling.

Facebook’s initial success was derided from (a) novelty, (b) exclusivity, and (c) although it sounds corny, a genuine sense of community amongst other college students. The only thing Facebook still has amongst those three is novelty, provided that the person is not already a member. Facebook has tapped out the college age market (if you don’t have one at this point, you probably don’t want one, and won’t get one), the high school age market, and the groups older than that.

As such, Facebook has reached the point where they need to worry about retaining members far more than recruiting new ones, and that won’t be easy, since other social media services have a range of ways of getting to new members. Granted, this won’t take members away, but make them less active, which means less usage, less views, and less advertising revenue. Google+ made a serious push, and had one huge advantage; a lot of people had Google accounts, and since Google+ could be activated from a GMAIL account; other services pushed their privacy settings, and the fact that you owned your own photos (which was a major misstep on Facebook’s part).

However, the worst monster Facebook has to deal with is the one it sees in the mirror. How do you keep pushing a multi-billion dollar online service that is contingent on views, something you have no control over? That’s not an easy task, and something I do not envy them. A failure to plan properly will result in Facebook going the way of MySpace, especially when it sees the next Facebook coming along, and can’t do anything to stop it.

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About brettryanclu

I reside in California, and I am a graduate from California Lutheran University, where I received my Masters in Public Policy and Administration. I like to write, talk politics, and exchange comments and opinions.
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