45 per cent of 16 to 20 years olds consider Facebook not to be cool anymore.
Before the days of Facebook, there existed a social networking site known as MySpace. Marketed to be ‘your very own personal slice of the world wide web’, it offered a page for every user, creatively selected and designed by their own interests.
Once a thriving on-line community, MySpace is now unused by 98 per cent of its original members. So what happened? Facebook happened, and they cleverly learned from their competitor’s mistakes.
The trends and fashions of culture unpredictably change. It is historically proven that the likes and dislikes of society alter as new experiences are made more easily and readily available, possible and affordable.
As a race of humans, we are instigated to ‘want it all, right now’ and Facebook certainly gives us this.
But just as MySpace passed its sell by date, Facebook is also at a significant risk, with a recent study suggesting that there has been a sharp decrease in Facebook use among some of its most loyal and long-standing members.
Researchers at Princeton University have even claimed that Facebook could lose 80 per cent of its users within the next 3 years.
Another study funded by an independent body, the European Research Council (ERC) and carried out by researcher Daniel Miller, unearthed some discouraging predictions for the future of Facebook.
The surveys suggested that 45 per cent of 16 to 20 years olds consider Facebook not to be cool anymore. The study was carried out within the Google domain, and research collected was evident from the number of times ‘Facebook’ was entered into the search bar. The predicted trend from this data will see Facebook lose 80 per cent of its main user base between 2015 and 2017.
Even though Facebook is still currently the social media giant, between 2012 to the present, networking ways in general have seen a shift in our mannerisms and the way we communicate on-line.
The Internet has notably become saturated with communication tools through social media platforms; and the diversity of options has made communicating more accessible and encouraged. We as the users are spoilt in our communication choices. We no longer have to speak to talk.
With the smartphone industry booming, our mobile phones are the leverage to social media and as a result this may also be the cause of the apparent and impending Facebook demise.
Facebook is best used on a desktop; the app doesn’t have the same instant reveal of relevant information that is prominent on the newest networks such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter.
Twitters roaring database of users may have the flamboyant edge and therefore an appealing approach, due to the celebrity gossip instantly available – something Facebook cannot compete with. Just consider the impact of Ellen DeGeneres’ ‘Oscar selfie’, which enjoyed a record-breaking 2 million retweets within a couple of hours.
Notably, Facebook quietly removed their email (@facebook.com) feature – because the majority of its 1.2 billion users were not interested – another sign it cannot compete in a highly saturated market.
That said, if Facebook really is on the decline, why has Twitter changed its user homepage to look more like Facebook’s, complete with a Profile image on the left-hand side and a cover image behind?
The notion that social networking is just for teenagers is also a dying trend as 35 per cent of users are now between 34 and 65. As networking online has become normal for the middle aged, Facebook has a new approach and latched onto this new era of users – adapting the visuals, promoted ads and even government links to appear on its ‘news feed’ which will make the site more relevant to middle-aged Joe.
But this has had its drawbacks; Facebook lost its cool and trendy edge when mum and dad signed up, but it did see a new market of users. The smart move would be embracing this new user, however the fear of an online ‘readers digest’ is at stake. When parents signed up, Facebook became suddenly too intrusive, abrasive and sneaky for its younger members – who are no longer so keen to openly over-share.
Moving through the years there is no doubt Facebook will be victim to a no strings attached assassination by time and imagination.
Members and users require, nor hold, any loyalty to providers. We are a sheep-like networking society, latching onto the latest trend to ‘see what it’s all about’.
Mark Zuckerburg, the founder and creator of the site in February 2004, is a very wise man. Today he has a net worth estimated to be around $19 billion after opening up the shares to Facebook in 2012.
As every great businessman knows, selling a product at its peak will certainly be the most profitable – completing this money-making-move while the site had 1.1 billion users worldwide, one can but wonder whether he knew what was coming.
But knowing the notorious volatile inclinations of their young target audience, Facebook have attempted to stay ahead of the game – first by buying Instagram for $1 billion, when there was has been a shift towards photo-sharing; and then WhatsApp for $19 billion – the young persons favourite messaging site. Clearly Facebook knows which market is the most lucrative, and it is one they are adamant to hold onto.
What the new dawn of social media holds is variety, changing concepts, versatility and applicable topics, for everyone from all ages and races – if one site can provide all this, we’ll be sure to sign up, until the next new and improved one comes along.