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Is Facebook doomed? (Alternatively: Is social networking, in general, doomed?)

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I want to crowd-source this question to all the amateur futurists here. This is an opinionated, bright group that knows its media.

    Last month was the one-year anniversary of the Facebook IPO. Since then, the company's stock price has declined 37 percent. Alarmingly, this Forbes piece notes that it has fallen 18 percent since May 2, a period that has seen a general continuing rally in the market (save for a small decline the last few days):


    Page views on U.S. desktops and laptops is down 28 percent. That may seem OK, since a lot of Web traffic is moving to smartphones and tablets. Except that I don't think that Facebook is a leader in smartphone and tablet computing. In fact, I've seen a lot of stories that seem to indicate Mark Zuckerberg's continuing frustration getting a foothold in those mediums:


    Unfortunately, I can't find a piece that I read on the commute last night - it was through a link on Slate - but it was a pretty lengthy recent story about the bastardization of the Facebook news feed, and what it means. The piece puts its finger on something I've noticed, as well: What used to seem like a place for robust discussion among peers past and present, has turned into a Spammer's Twitter. Lots of memes. Lots of ads for weird start-ups. Interspersed by the occasional wedding photos. Current events commentary gets almost no traction. It used to. People, even journalists, don't seem to be as engaged as they used to be. Part of this is that it isn't an election year any more. The piece I read thinks that people are tired of trying to sift through all the ad clutter.

    Relatedly, I am starting to suspect that social networking, in general, has seen its day come and possibly go. I am, to put it lightly, skeptical about the industry's ability to ever generate revenue. People seem to move from one hot site to the next, from MySpace to Facebook to Tumblr to Instagram to Snapchat. (I recognize that some of these are subsidiaries of others.)

    It reminds me of two industries in particular, both victims of the Internet age: (1) Our own newspaper business, which gave its product away and was not able to monetize the Web product through advertising alone; (2) In its fragmentation, the music industry, where few stadium-filling acts are being developed these days.

    The Huffington Post has started its "Tech Bubble Death Watch" feature again:


    Anyway ... thoughts? Where will social networking be in 10 years? Where will Facebook be in five?

    Am I crazy to think that, as the novelty wears off and the money never rolls in, it's at least possible that social networking is the hula hoop of the 2010s?
  2. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I don't think it's ever going to go away, but social networking will almost certainly evolve. Whether Facebook stays at the forefront or falls out of favor and disappears into the ether isn't something I would bother to try to predict.

    I will say, I have noticed that Facebook - particularly the mobile version - is getting overrun with ads and it is appreciably changing my viewing habits. I most definitely check it less often now, and increasingly I find that I don't scroll all the way down to catch up on all the posts I missed because there's too many ads for crappy games or shave gel.

    The worst are when the ads say one of your friends liked a product that they didn't actually like. I find that offensive.
  3. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I think they will become more useful and less used, if that makes any sense. I don't actually "use" Twitter as much as I did two years ago, but the info I get from it now is more streamline and vital to my job and life.
  4. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    I keep adjusting my feed to not show me people's comments and likes, but it's still getting more irritating, especially with the ads on the mobile app that I can't get rid of. I basically don't see ads on Firefox any more, given that I've adblocked everything to hell, but when every fifth post on my mobile feed is some sponsored crap, it gets old. For a while I was marking them all as spam, but I've largely given up.

    There's no question in my mind that usage overall is down. I find I'm using the messaging *more* than I used to, but that's about it, and only then because it has a useful group chat function.
  5. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Doomed might be an overstatement. Facebook was on such a high for so long that it was going to eventually come back to earth.

    They've found ways to monetize the site, which leads to backlash, which is to be expected from a society that wants everything for free.

    I don't think it's ever going to get back to the level it was at a couple years ago, but I don't think it's going away anytime soon...
  6. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    It's the total dilemma of all Internet-based media. As soon as any one site or service figures out how to generate enough advertising to be financially viable, its users, all of whom loath Internet advertising, tend to migrate to a new site or service which has yet to generate enough advertising to be annoying.
    People actually kind of like (some) television advertising. Look at the Super Bowl. I have never heard anyone say, boy, that was a great pop-up I saw last night.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I forgot to even mention this little recent PR flare-up:

  8. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    I think we all need to get out more.
  9. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Facebook is trying too hard but it should be around in 5 years. Still pretty robust but I also stay pretty active on G+ because Google is great. Twitter will be around a long, long time.

    The Instagram, Tumblr and other niche things will come and go.

    I just found out about gifboom last night and love it.
  10. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Facebook will suffer the same fate as AOL. Slow death.
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    That's the company I was thinking of, too, when I read the piece last night that I can't find. At least AOL had paying customers. But, in its own way, it was the first social networking site.
  12. How's Myspace doing these days?
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