Last week a study from Princeton University, Epidemiological modeling of online social network dynamics, predicted the decline of Facebook. The study suggested the super social network could lose up to 80% of its followers by 2017. It compares the life cycle of social networks to infectious diseases. A disease, or a social network, runs its course when they run out of people to infect or friend. The New York Times quoted the researchers, “Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models.” Are they correct, is Facebook dying?
Yes, I think it is
After reviewing the white paper, I have no argument with their results. Are they right, is their prediction accurate? Is the Myspace model they used valid? I’m not certain, but I am certain of this—things change, and they can change quickly. I believe the proliferation of segmented OSN’s (Online Social Network) will hasten the decline of Facebook. I’ll share an example, last week several friends and I, went to a local pub and tried a few brews. In the past, we would have posted our opinions of the beers on Twitter and Facebook—instead we posted on Untapped, a target marketed OSN for beer lovers.
It’s the History of Media
I’m old enough to remember television choices limited to three networks. Now there are hundreds of channels available to multiple segments of our population. The story is the same with music, news, and yes social media. Research used to be done in libraries; PR was limited mostly to print, and education was strictly classroom. Things change and so will the public’s need for Facebook. I can’t predict when it will happen, or how severe it will be—I don’t have a scientific formula. What I do know is…it’s not a case of if but when.
Is Facebook in its dying throes? Will it be an afterthought or worse, the butt of a joke like the once influential and proud Myspace? I think its time is coming, what do you think, are Facebook’s days numbered?