Last week the blog Inside Facebook caused quite a stir in the social media world when they estimated that for the first time in its history Facebook lost users in the United States — an estimated 6 million of them.
For a long time Facebook has seemed like an Internet force of nature, defying the life cycle of Friendster and Myspace and is rumored to be planning on IPO on a a valuation in the realm of $100 billion (disclosure: link is to CNET, I work at CNET).
But it also has been dogged by privacy concerns and annoyingly persistent spam and malware, and it remains to be seen if it will be a permanent fixture on the Internet.
What do you think? Has Facebook peaked? Are you spending less or more time using it? Do you think it’s here to stay or is it another social media mirage, here one minute gone the next?
Facebook lost its usefulness for me when they took away (or possibly just hid very very well) the ability to look at a subset of your friends. Before, I checked FB daily to see what was going on in my family and with close friends, and if I had time I'd see what was happening with other groups (college classmates, high school classmates, people I know from old mailing lists, etc.). Now I'm stuck with seeing my entire friendslist at once, and updates from people who are important to me are likely to get lost in the mass; I check FB at most every couple weeks.
Though not quite the same, I can see Tumblr taking over.
Gary Baker says
I stopped using FB about 7 months ago.
I suspect a lot of kids under 13 use it now.
Art Rosch says
The peaceful revolution in Tunisia was coordinated via Facebook after a frustrated young man burned himself in front of a police station. FB is in the middle of a lot of powerful movements and transcends its own silliness (poke this, friend that).
A lot of charity money has been raised by, of all things, The Josh Groban fan club, for example. Until something more powerful or relevant comes along, FB will be here. We need to look at it from a global perspective.
I'd like to know what Google Plus is going to do.
Claude Nougat says
Very interesting question, Nathan, and I never thought I'd live to see the day it would be asked!
Being the last one to comment has an advantage: I've been able to notice the trend in most comments: yes, for them, FB has peaked and Twitter is the next big thing (or is it? Some thought it was limited)
FB could well be peaking in the US but it definitely has bright days ahead in the rest of the world, as one of your readers noted, in promoting the Arab Spring, in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere…
Personally? Well I have an FB page and I rarely check it. My news feed page has been taken over by "friends" bent on posting their photographs of kittens and horses. In short turning my site into a piazza where they stroll and say anything they please. Why not? But then, why do I have to put up with it? I'm not sure. And that's what probably is hurting FB…
FB annoys me like you would not believe. I hardly hang out there other than to do automatic posts. Twitter I find easier and less demanding. And as for 'profiles' and 'pages,' give me a break, what annoying nonsense.
The UI doesn't work and never has.
Everybody seems to love to hate facebook. I actually disagree with a lot of what's been said here and think that, unlike twitter or myspace, facebook will be around for awhile.
There's an inherent value that it adds that people rarely mention in FB hating discussions: FB is a sort of virtual permanent address. Especially since so many people are on it (even if they don't use it often). People change their emails all the time or move or get new websites or blogs. But their FB profile is a constant. It seems that when a friend or colleague I haven't spoken with in awhile wants to get in touch they are often using FB instead of looking up my email address.
People may stop using the status update so much and have already (thankfully) eased off on silly quizzes. People may not think it's cool anymore to bother filling out their profile in it's entirety. They may not check in all the time, or rarely at all.
But if you need to contact somebody you know now or knew in your past (in other words — your network), FB is a centralized place to find them. That's facebook's value. As long as they have that, they are still in business.