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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Death of Facebook

I make no prediction with the title, just a thought experiment. Facebook is huge and commanding. No need to cite Ecclesiastes: we have all seen the growth and demise of people, companies, countries, and civilizations. Fortunes change, for better or worse.

Facebook could blow it—mighty companies have fallen before—because hubris seems evident. Right now, however, no satisfactory alternative to Facebook exists. I mean by that, a comparable service in terms of breadth as well as function. Twitter, for instance,  barely compares to Facebook as a service, but it siphoned interest from Facebook. Other competition will surface.

Facebook began as an online meet and greet. Business and self-promotion entered the realm, and that is a different energy. Games too have become a central attraction for Facebook. These elements are profitable but won’t the competing energies serve to tear at the fabric of Facebook?

Television, radio, and newspapers offered a service at the price of advertisement. We were entertained or informed, but we had to see ads. Facebook offers the structure for entertainment and information but does not, itself, provide content. It depends on an interested populace. Users cannot be static if Facebook is to continue its success.

Users are fickle. What will keep the content supply going? How can Facebook keep fickle users intrigued? That is for Facebook to answer. En garde Twitter, as well.

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