2019 UPDATE: Is Facebook Dying?
- March 27, 2019
- Posted by: Craig Chamberlin
- Category: Social Media
A few years back I was asked “Is Facebook Dying?”. I covered a number of issues Facebook needed to work through in order to stay successful. You can read the original post below. The fun thing about going back and rediscovering posts is that you get to see what has changed since the original discussion.
Facebook still has a number of cultural barriers to overcome, including:
- Raised awareness of it’s time consuming and narcissistic nature
- The “echo chamber” effect which circulates preferred content to users thus leaving them mis-informed and comfortable
- Advertising model that inaccurately represents paid likes and shares as “popular content”
- Complete control of user timelines resulting in inorganic social experience
Social media has devolved into a social advertising scheme. Essentially the majority of content represented on timelines now are paid for. If you are a content creator, you must pay for likes, shares and clicks more often than actually receiving them organically.
Most content you will see on your timeline will be a misrepresentation. I’ve learned through running my own Facebook campaign that advertisers can now target very specific audiences (worldwide) to inflate their Likes, Shares and Responses. They can then open those posts to their target demographic as if it were “popular”.
Generally speaking, unless you play the advertising game or are already a celebrity, it is impossible to gain real organic traction on social media anymore.
The success and failure of Facebook is mostly contingent on culture at this point. The company will be fine as long as users continue to buy into their advertising model as truly organic and as long as there are no viable alternatives.
There are may pros and cons to Facebook… But is Facebook dying? In some ways yes, and here’s why.
The problem with Facebook? It’s become so big that it continues to neglect the user base. They’ve been doing this for at least four or five years. Many people think Facebook is suffering due to privacy issues, but I don’t think that’s the case. Many people argue “Nobody want’s to go on Facebook because of the privacy… because they’re stealing your information.” The truth is, very few of us actually care if Facebook uses our information… if we cared about our information, we probably would never even consider using their product.
Is Facebook Dying Because Of A Sloppy UI?
What’s really happening with Facebook is many users aren’t happy with the interface and even fewer users are happy with the culture. Some common complaints about Facebook include
- The timeline they forced down user’s throats
- Locating recent or relevant content
- Constant notifications we can’t seem to get rid of
- Clumsy updating of profiles
- Muddling through privacy of content and profiles
Most users can, and do, look past these limitations and frustrations. After all, when we’re working with something we enjoy – we can ignore the small details that annoy us. In my opinion, the most significant issue is privacy of content and profiles. The culture of Facebook has changed and tools should be put in place to ensure new users can get the enjoyment of Facebook it once provided.
Is Facebook Dying Because Of The Culture?
If Facebook doesn’t address the cultural shift of it’s user base, they are knowingly heading toward the ice burg. This TIME Magazine article cited a study that claimed Facebook would lose 80% of it’s user base by 2017. Even though this study is, as Facebook themselves beautifully illustrated, inherently flawed, it does make a number of excellent points. While we can get muddled in the mathematics and predictive models, it’s important to grasp that very few social media sites have endured for the long haul.
Facebook has yet to device a solution as beautiful as Google+ circle management when it comes to isolating content from one group to another. For teenagers in particular, it’s very frustrating that their parents are on it. Why are their parents on it? It’s because they joined when they were teenagers. I’ve talked about teenagers running and screaming from Facebook a number of times before on my show. Mashable put together this infographic portraying just how many teens are actually leaving Facebook… and the numbers are staggering.
Facebook added list management as an after thought, but it gets very little use or promotion by the network. In reality, list management should become front and center. Simple content isolation would greatly improve user experience and increase user confidence to share more information. Why is content distribution important? I put together a video addressing a serious discussion about the dangers of Facebook. Distributing all thoughts and feelings to two separate cultures, parents and friends, is recipe for disaster.
Let’s Be Honest, Is Facebook Dying?
Facebook is a good networking tool for relationships and for keeping in contact with people because everybody is on it. That’s the thing about Facebook, until another social media product comes out that everyone can get on and be happy with, Facebook is here to stay. Right now, there seem to be no viable alternatives. Google+ is great for content aggregation, but unless you know exactly what you’re doing, it’s limited when managing close relationships.
Facebook is also very friendly with advertisers right now. Words cannot even begin to describe all the demographics information they are collecting… That means there are still millions of dollars to be made. If Facebook were smart, they’d just address these minor issues that have become very frustrating for many of us who are trying to enjoy the whole system.