Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Has Facebook Peaked?

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?






109 comments:

Cherie Reich said...

I'm not sure if Facebook has peaked or not, but I know I'm spending more time on Twitter lately and less on Facebook.

Kai said...

Lately I've been noticing friends and family (and myself) spend less time on FB. I've always felt it was "temporary" in the long run. It'll be around for a while longer, but certainly not forever.

Ashelyn Nicole said...

I believe, like Myspace, it will become an Internet Has-been. I mean, we all thought that Myspace couldn't be stopped in the hayday, didn't we? And now look at it.

Stephanie McGee said...

For author stuff, connecting with other writers and all that, I've almost completely dropped facebook. I've noticed that my friends and family who do use facebook aren't as frequent. But that could just be that it's summer and they all have lives where I don't. (Only joking. Maybe.)

Connecting with other writers and such happens through blogger and through twitter. Those are my two mains. But after two years of consistent blogging, I've also noticed a dip in my numbers. (Again, could just be that it's summer.) Not as many comments, but follower count is going up.

So, I don't know that anything is peaking or not but I do know that habits change over time and we use the medium that best suits those changing habits.

Hyattsville Mom said...

I think the real answer to that question will come soon and will hinge on privacy concerns.

This article (http://www.allfacebook.com/alert-job-screening-agency-archiving-all-facebook-2011-06) says places are storing facebook pages so they can use them when employers are doing background checks. I think if people become too weary of that, FB will continue to have more losses.

I don't think FB will drop off overnight. It will definitely start off as a trickle.

Anonymous said...

When I first got email in the 90's, I was constantly forwarding spammy messages and meaningless updates for the sheer novelty of it. Now, it's just a tool I check periodically. I feel like Facebook will go that route too.

I spend less time on it than I used to, but I still check it every day.

Mike Koch - Protect The Risen said...

Peaked, probably not, but certainly not an eternal item either. People are fickle and will move to new venues when they become available. I do not know of any such replacement, so unless you know of a new social network I would imagine that Facebook will be around a while longer.

Elizabeth May said...

I use Facebook often for business/promotional purposes. I'm not sure it's "peaked" so much as it's become incredibly over saturated. Everything links to Facebook, and the website is becoming increasingly less interested in protecting privacy.

Privacy is being shoved aside to keep people "connected", and you know what? I don't need to be that connected. I'm not surprised people are leaving. When you have a website that constantly encourages "connecting" and "reconnecting," and it can put careers in jeopardy, relationships and friendships too . . . I've had people I'd rather not be in contact with find me on Facebook. So is it really worth it? I think more and more people will find that it isn't.

SinMac said...

I've been spending less time on FB and more on Twitter as well. However, it can be difficult to carry on a meaningful conversation in Twitter. I've often begun conversations in Twitter that I've had to carry over to FB. People are getting bored with FB and irritated with the spam. If they can find a way to correct the issues, they may have a chance to bounce back.

Richard Gibson said...

For me Facebook has reached the status of "routine" - I use it two ways, as a sort of "friends newspaper" that I check like I read the newspaper and watch news; and I use it to promote several non-profits that I'm involved with (and IMO that works very well; we are in contact with dozens of people we would not otherwise communicate with) and in a small way to promote my book.

I'd say the amount of time I spend there is stable and not huge - I check things frequently but quickly, as I do email when I'm at my computer.

David said...

Everything's temporary. There's always going to be a Big New Thing that will dominate for a while and then go away in its turn.

The Web is the virtual equivalent of the real-world arena of imperial struggle.

Mercy Loomis said...

Facebook is a good tool for keeping people connected and up-to-date with their friends. I think people have come to expect that sort of instant and constant connectivity. Whether they use FB or Twitter will be personal preference, but until another social network comes along that does what FB does now, but better (and "better" is pretty nebulous), FB will continue to be strong.

Barbara Watson said...

I can only speak for myself, but I'm spending less and less time on FB. And more and more time on Twitter because Twitter allows direct contact with writers, bloggers, and pub industry folks which is where I'm at. Twitter provides avenues for searching and finding what I'm looking for. FB doesn't.

Anonymous said...

People get bored and move on to the next craze. I've seen more zealous FB addicts in the past four years come and go than I can even count. And the interesting thing is they just drop out of sight. At first it's all or nothing for months, and then they disappear forever.

I actually think all social media might crash like the dot coms back in the nineties. Anything built on a house of cards rarely ever lasts forever. But I would imagine Mr. Zuckerberg has already planned well in advance for this.

Anonymous said...

The fact that so many other sites are saying "Connect with your FB acct" makes me sick. I don't want to be connected everywhere.

Also, like others have said already, I spend more time on Twitter now. Why? FB has too much info to swim through. And to be very honest, I do not care to know half the info that gets shared there.

I was only of the early adopters of Facebook when it was only for college students. Should have stayed that way. Now I believe it has become too big for its britches.

Plus, I can't believe that people are simultaneously using it for dating/flirting purposes AND for keeping in touch with family/friends. Seriously....NO.

I'd like to see Facebook disappear. Heck, I may be ridding my account very soon.

Jaime Loren said...

I wouldn't be on Facebook anymore if it wasn't for the fact that here in Australia, Twitter hasn't really taken off yet. All of my family and friends from my school days are on Facebook. It's the only way I keep in touch with a lot of them, which is why I still have an account.

But I much prefer Twitter. Fast, easy, and effective. That, and I get to talk to my favourite celebrities. *squee*!

It's possible we're a biased bunch, though, because Twitter allows us to communicate with all of our writer-friends whilst not making available information on our private, family lives (that can be easily accessed on Facebook - especially if Facebook has changed your privacy settings without warning). *shakes fist*

Maria said...

yeah, I think it's peaked; it depends so much on user input, and when I saw a post recently from a FB friend about Alpenfest (for the 3rd year now) I noticed that she wasn't posting witty little comments every day, like she had the past two years. And why should she? I didn't post about the last day of school this year, because the thought of it made me depressed that my life is in such as cyclical rut. Also, I've been diconcerted lately by all my FB friends who NEVER post a thing or even comment, so I forget they're even there, until I run into them in person one day, and they begin to chat about my life events. I'm starting to wonder, "why should you know about me when I know nothing about you?" I've been posting and using it way less frequently.

Sam Webb said...

Funny, just the other day I posted up that it was quiet on FB. Only 3 friends replied.

6 million users quit and it's only, perhaps, a future trend notice? Amazing how large they've become.

Caroline said...

My usage has dropped a little. I try to be amusing whenever I post because I hate when people but dumb stuff like, 'Going to the store.' And since I can't be funny all the time, I've just stopped posting as much. Although I did launch an author page and I think it is a good thing, as Martha would say.

In general, I'm more careful than I used to be. I don't use any of the apps because I don't want my info or my friends exposed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, FB has definitely peaked! everyone I know, including myself, is spending a lot less time on it these days, reverting to the old-fasihoned telephone to keep in touch or just suing FB for messages and events, but not wall posting.

CPatLarge said...

A friend and I were discussing this earlier, and he shared a link to an NY Times article from 2009 saying 'Facebook is dead' at that time.

So, as Twain once said, reports of its demise...

Ted Fox said...

I think FB has lost some of that cool factor just because it's been such a runaway success and everyone, including businesses, uses it now.

Ironically enough, that scenario did give me some good material for a tweet earlier this month. I have a whole feed (@KnowWhosAwesome)dedicated to answering who's not so awesome (I'm a sad little man), and one response was:

Rando businesses with Facebook pages. “Liking” that Holiday Inn Express isn’t just for when everywhere else is booked anymore.

erinjade said...

i agree with Richard, above, who called FB a "friends newspaper." that's exactly how i use it. but lately, i notice fewer friends posting. i'm certainly posting less frequently myself. if people stop ACTIVELY using FB, there won't be enough content left to keep the PASSIVE users interested.
so yes, i believe it has peaked, but i think it will have a long slow decline before it goes away for good.

Rick Daley said...

I don't use it often. It was great to connect with friends from the past, but I've grown very bored with it...to much of the following:

- OMG it's hot out today!!

- Raining again.

- [Insert poorly argued political rant here]

- Here are pictures of people you don't know doing things you don't care about because we friended each other early on even though we don't really know each other and I have 3,000 friends and you mostly have people you really know and care about

And of course there's the privacy (or lack thereof). I try to refrain from putting any meaningful posts or pictures up because I don't trust the security.

Chuck H. said...

It's probably my fault. Every time I get involved in something, it dies. I'm on facebook now.

Jenny Phresh said...

I have indeed been spending less time on FB and more on Twitter lately. I think I was driven away from FB by all the Farmville and Frontierville activity: "Jeanie needs some money to buy a shotgun to kill a durned ol' possum what busted into her henhouse!" Maddening!

kathrynleighaz said...

I tend to think Facebook has peaked. I deleted my profile about a year ago, and I haven't missed it at all. It's always interesting that when I meet a new person, he always plans to contact me via Facebook first, but is disappointed when he has to get an email address or a phone number. So I think it's still the most convenient avenue for networking, but convenient isn't always the most desirable thing.

JP Kurzitza said...

Once it's been used to spy on and stalk all old flames, or relationships that never were, or "the one that got away", what else is it good for?

Maybe wasting time...

Cathy Yardley said...

I still like Facebook. It's handy, and it's more like a bulletin board than the crowded bar that Twitter feels like. If I post something on Facebook and come back hours later, nobody seems to care. I can only pop by every few hours, so Twitter doesn't work for me. But that's me.

Funny no one's mentioning Tumblr.

Bryce Daniels said...

I'm not sure if Facebook has "peaked" or not.

I AM sure that Facebook has "peeked" beyond what, for me, is an acceptable scope of vision.

So for this writer, Facebook is doomed.

IsaiahC said...

Just as a point of clarification, when the article says that Facebook has had a drop in users, it isn't meaning people have deleted their accounts, but rather that they didn't log on for the month. Given the number of summer vacations, graduations, job changes, etc. I would say facebook is simply seeing a predictable lag now that their potential growth has shrunk in the US.
Facebook has made a transition that Myspace never did, from entertaining distraction to professional necessity. Myspace was popular among high-school and college students primarily, Facebook has infiltrated every age group and social circle in our community. The comparison to email is the most accurate comparison possible, or one could be made with texting. Even if, during the holiday months, email and texting dropped, there would be no rumors that those technological innovations were on their way out. They are as much a part of our lives as bank cards, printers, and mobile phones. Facebook is a part of our lives now, and it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Matthew MacNish said...

Now that I have a writer profile in addition to my personal one, I'm using it more effectively, but not technically more, no.

You just can't compare to all the time I used to waste on Mafia Wars.

D.G. Hudson said...

Facebook has too many issues for my liking,and the lack of adequate privacy is the one that keeps me away.

For the social aspect, some find it easier to keep in touch with family and friends via Facebook. It will probably survive because of that.

If it's already starting to lose members, then isn't that a wake-up call for Facebook? They need to survey users and non-users to find out what is needed. If they can increase security protection, and allow pen names, etc., then I might consider using it.

We all seem to have flash-fiction attention spans, so if Facebook doesn't improve quickly, it may become less of a social tool for professionals and more of a learning tool for the younger generations (under 13 yrs).

Kristi said...

The more commercial Facebook gets, the less I use it.

I realize that many authors talk about facebook as a way to promote themselves and many companies (publishing and otherwise) set up pages and push contests through it. I really wish they wouldn't. I don't mind if an author is on facebook as a person, but not as a commercial.

The more of that kind of junk I see, the less I care to go there. It's like a salesman showing up at a backyard bbq and peddling his wares. Sure, one person may be interested in buying, but that is neither the time nor the place for it.

And if I'm the one who is wrong--if Facebook IS the time and place for people to flash commercials in my face--then I'm outta there. I already get enough paper junk mail, spam mail, TV commercials, radio commercials, and internet advertising.

JES said...

I read something last week that really jumped out at me. Some influential tech commentator said (with apologies for a certain cultural focus), "Facebook is John the Baptist. Twitter is the real deal."

Cathy Yardley mentioned Tumblr. I'm still getting the hang of it, but it strikes me as something like Twitter with embedded media.

Sean Thomas Fisher said...

I hardly ever remember to check my FB page anymore. When I do, I have noticed a drop in postings. I guess real life updates just aren't exciting enough to capture attention-spans much past the novelty stage of the whole thing. People can only stand hearing about what someone had for dinner - or when they mowed their lawn - or when they shot a zombie right between the eyes - so many times. In reality, it's not that big a deal.

But when Tide has a Facebook page...the shark has truly been jumped.

Anonymous said...

I think it's peaked for the average Joe who never fully understood social media in the first place. They get bored with it.

But for published authors it's still a way to connect with readers and it's still going strong.

Melanie said...

I've definitely been spending less time on Facebook, especially since the people I'm following aren't posting as much.

Mira said...

Well, I just googled some dates. Myspace was around for six years. Facebook came on the scene in 2004, so it's about seven years now.

I've seen stuff like this come and go. People enjoy the brand new thing, it's fun, but once it's too familiar, they move away. So, stuff like this seems to fade or morph over time.

Twitter will also probably fade in time, to be replaced by something new. This partly because people are creative and they build on what's come before and come up with something better.

I wouldn't be surprised if in a year or two, someone introduces a social networking site that is even better than Facebook, and everyone switches over.

Suze said...

Don't have a Facebook account. Never felt good about the site.

Stephsco said...

I agree w/ Anonymous a few posts up; definitely peaked for the Average Joe, and I think you could possibly say that means it has peaked overall, but I think people will continue to use it for the next 5 years. I also utilize twitter more often, along with a google-feed of blogs (like this). It's hard for me to gauge since I've been into social media for awhile and never used facebook exclusively for connecting with people.

David Quiles said...

I think that Zukerberg is to human behavior what Temple Grandin was to cows. I'm growing weary of the information I put in facebook and will probably continue to log on until my teenage girls move to the next thing.

Loree Huebner said...

I'm not sure fb has peaked. I think there are just other options out there. Sometimes you end up spending more time on one than any other.

Kat said...

Comparing Facebook to MySpace is like comparing a Formula 1 Race Car to a Yugo. They both have 4 wheels and an engine... however, like the race car, FB is inherently dangerous. The management seems to purposely push the envelope when it comes to violating its user's privacy, and as already mentioned, is becoming a mecca for spammers and hackers. Ultimately FB's fate will be determined by how they respond (or don't) to the privacy and security issues that are repeatedly discussed (and currently ignored).

Kaitlyne said...

I've never used it myself, but most of my friends have. What I have noticed is that a couple of my good friends who used it often (boyfriend included) hardly ever do anymore. I hear different reasons for it. Some don't like it because it uses too much of their time, and others have just gotten bored with it.

I'm not really surprised. As others have said, I never saw it as something permanent. I think that's just the nature of these things. Someone else will come up with something new and cooler and it will fade. I imagine it could last for some time with fewer users, but I can't imagine it remaining at such a huge peak for years on end.

Rob Smith said...

I'm not sure I'd say it will go away. Facebook is at its heart a tech company, whereas sites like myspace and friendster were media driven, so those sites held no real value. By value I mean things like patents on new and upcoming technology. Also unlike other social networks, Facebook's focus on tech development puts it more in league of Google than the other social networks. Facebook has a lot of information that no search engine, including Google, can access.

I'd also point out that while Facebook is getting used less by me and by my friends, in my stream it seems like people have determined the two or three things they really like about Facebook and just focus on that. People used to do everything, now they post pics, check-ins, and status updates (most of which are on the go).

Losing 6m users in the US is certainly not a good thing, but one dip since its inception is a far cry from "the end of Facebook!".

Geoff said...

I honestly never thought I'd say it - because I was against the whole idea of Twitter for so long - but I find myself on Twitter now a lot more than FB. Why that is I cannot tell you. Easy of use? Everything on Twitter is truncated links and text and there's no Farmville or that sort of nonsense to contend with. Twitter is just the place to go for writers and industry contacts. FB seems more for friends and family. And not that I don't care about my friends and family, but I'm trying to release a book in December! I have to be where the people are...

And suddenly a Little Mermaid song is stuck in my head. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Well it's definitely peaked for me. It's become the most annoying social media thing where I'm constantly reminded of people I'd rather not be reminded of. In a weird way I feel I have less control with Facebook - it just pops up everywhere, signing in to other websites using your FB account and then having that automatically updated on your FB page...No!

My beef with FB is that it started out as a truly friends posting with friends (when the word "friend" meant someone you have an actual relationship with in the physical world), sharing pictures, keeping each other updated. Now it's become a whole different monster I don't like. I never feel right posting anything on FB because I never know where it will end up. And that's a problem because the stuff I used to post on FB in the beginning was intended for close friends, not for the whole world.

With Twitter and blogging, for instance, I know it's for the world to see. But that wasn't how Facebook started and I think that's thrown a lot of us for a loop.

I'm definitely over it.

The English Teacher said...

If facebook is now a has-been, someone needs to tell that to the thousands of teenagers who obsess over it daily.

Kay Theodoratus said...

I'm one of those people who only use Facebook for family and people who are part of my life.

It may just be the demographic, but I know I'm responding to fewer comments than a year ago.

Sierra McConnell said...

I didn't use MySpace and I don't use FB. I just don't see the novelty of it.

I'm an LJ girl through and through. :3

But I tweet because it's fun to come up with little 100 word drabs.

Theresa Milstein said...

I use it as much as ever, but I've seen people come and go, use it more or less. It's too bad if it declines because it's a place to store photos and get quick updates on people.

I've been avoiding Twitter to keep a handle on how much time I spend doing social media. If FB goes, I may take the plunge into Twitter. And since there have been so many issues about privacy and they change the format so often, FB is often a pain.

Deri Ross said...

I hope FB stays around for a long while. I use it on a personal level to connect with my friends and family who are spread around the world. Having them all in one place means I can keep up with them easily, on my terms. My sister isn't going to call me every time her son has a breakthrough (he has medical issues), but I can keep up with his progress through FB. I simply block that which I don't want to see. I don't get as aggravated with the chatter on it the way a lot of people do. I'm not sure about how well it works on a professional level, as I just recently started my writer's page. As far as privacy, I've done searches on various sites that people have posted that supposedly catalogs personal information, and honestly yes, my personal information was on there, but none of it was anything that could have been garnered from FB, such as phone numbers I turned off several years before I ever heard of FB.
I'm trying to get the hang of Twitter, but honestly, on there it just feels like everyone is talking all over each other, but no one is listening to anyone else. If I had any plans of using it to connect with anyone personally, I'd be sorely disappointed. It really feels like it is strictly for promoting oneself, so I guess as a fledgling writer, it's going to work great for that (once I figure it out, lol).
Myspace is extremely juvenile; I got bored with it after two years of random men trying to hook up with me despite my taken status. It was never really built for anything other than low-brow socializing.
I don't have the time or inclination to embrace the next fad in virtual socializing, so I'll stick with FB, which I don't consider a fad. No more than email was a fad, or instant messaging. Those things have evolved to be more streamlined, but they aren't going anywhere.

L.G.Smith said...

I like Blogger. :)

Anna said...

I quit a year ago over privacy concerns. I felt the company was not transparent enough with what they were doing. I'm not sure if blogger, gmail, or any other social networking is much better, but these companies at least aren't forthright about using their users' information for nefarious purposes.

Just Another Day in Paradise said...

Facebook = Boring
Blogger = pseudo exciting,like phone sex
twitter = more like the real thing. Lots of stimulus, hot, sweaty and fast

Munk said...

Who cares? Really.

CPatLarge said...

I'm with you, Deri. For the most part, Twitter just isn't doing for me. There are lots of easy ways to block MOST of the annoyances on FB, and a number of useful tools. I'm able to stay in touch with family, too, and even found a half-brother we didn't know existed.

So yeah, I'll stick with FB for a while. Do I use as much as I used to? Probably not, but I'll go for the quality connections, not the quantity.

Kristin Laughtin said...

I've had three friends quit Facebook this week, and only one of them planned to do so temporarily. Still, though, I feel like it will be around for a while unless another website comes along that offers many of the same features but respects privacy better. Then, once there is competition, it may go the Myspace route, as Ashelyn Nicole pointed out. Unless something better comes along, though, most people will stay, even if they scale back their usage. Facebook offers a good middle ground between short Twitter posts and long blog posts, as well as an easy way to share pictures, plan and manage events, and so on. Privacy is going to be the determining factor as to whether it lasts a long time, though, and I hope the administrators start listening to their users.

J. Burroughs said...

I have tried MySpace and didn't last even short at it. I haven't gotten into Twitter yet, though I would say it is certainly a strong force right now. I have used Facebook for a while, even through changes and experiences that made me grumpy, but I always stuck with it. Certain features, games, etc. come and go, but the venue itself remains.

Scott said...

Clearly, within five years we will all have mastered persistent-state global mind linking and the ancient electronic internet will join the dinosaur bones and the cellphone hip holsters.

CageFightingBlogger said...

I think people are getting sick of mundane updates from Facebook users. Twitter, on the other hand, is largely used to promote topics of interest. I can see some straying over from Facebook to Twitter, but a lot will simply leave Facebook and not go back to social media at all. Webcam sites like Camfrog will grow next, then level out as Faceboook is doing now.

Diana said...

I stopped using facebook and twitter and visiting messageboards back in December. The only place I go now is blogger.

The problem with FB and Twitter is that you have to be online all the time in order to keep up with what's going on. With blogger and messageboards, I can check in once a day and then go and do something else.

I think people are beginning to realize that it's not the best environment for having a conversation.

Reena Jacobs said...

I've never been a big Facebook user. I'm more of a tweeter. However, I do visit Facebook to find long last friends and family. It's definitely great for that.

As for it peaking, I'm not sure. Most of my friends and family seem to use Facebook exclusively. If I'm curious if they're alive without having to call, that's where I head.

Vinyl and Mono said...

Today I published an article in an online fanzine. Within an hour I had almost doubled my Twitter following, received several messages, and been retweeted multiple times. No response on Facebook, except for two of my friends.

Anne R. Allen said...

I've just had some emails accusing you of stealing my thunder, Nathan :-). I did gloat a little when I saw that article about FB losing members. A lot of my "friends" are closing their accounts too. It's the invasion of privacy and widespread spamminess. It's still good for exchanging photos, but there are safer sites for that.

My crystal ball did predict this on February 20th in my blogpost of the same title: Has Facebook Peaked? http://bit.ly/mrwt8c

Anonymous said...

I hope FB has peaked. I've never been on there, and I'm tired of people assuming that everyone is on FB. I looked into it a couple of times, but it didn't seem user-friendly. I haven't heard anything that makes me want to jump on there either: Farmville? People spamming your wall? Constantly having your privacy settings changed without your knowledge?

FB's privacy policies are horrible examples of what not to do when it comes to customer service. I think the only reason they didn't have more backlash sooner was that so many people had already invested their time and information in it.

Every kind of social media seems to have a wave of enthusiasm where everybody tries it, and then the novelty wears off and the numbers drop. When the drop comes, the medium either settles at a level where it's not as huge as it used to be, but it still has a dedicated community who keep it going (I think blogging fits this), or else it goes into freefall (Myspace. Although I hear that musicians still use it, so maybe they are Myspace's dedicated community).

This peak and decline will happen to Twitter, too, but it remains to be seen whether Twitter will hang around or disappear after its peak.

Things I like about Twitter: You don't have to give up loads of personal information. Accounts are very easy to set up. You can spend a lot of time there, or very little. You're not expected to read every single tweet. You can follow as many or as few people as you want. You can send out messages to everyone or restrict your followers to a select few. If Twitter disappears, I won't miss it, but it's easy and fun for now.

Twitter isn't the place for long or in-depth conversations, and that's why I don't think it will replace web pages, blogs, and forums.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I hope so. In fact, I hope social networking in general has peaked. There's an awful lot to be said for a modicum of privacy in one's life.

Judith Mercado said...

I am spending much less time on FB. It's down to infrequent forays to check on my extended family, but beyond that private use, I hardly use FB any more.

Jillian said...

Facebook was a great way to reconnect with old friends who I lost contact. I also used the site to connect with writers who often post links to articles on writing and such. In the past month, I haven't logged onto FB. I could care less what someone is cooking for dinner or that their A/C is broken. I think FB will be another Myspace. Although I have friends who live for FB. I guess they have more time to waste.

Laurie said...

I only go on Facebook about once a month. As a freelance journalist, I find it useful to reach out to authors and other people I need to set up an interview with for my job, but I've never been comfortable with the "look at me" aspect of it, and I'm very private. The social network site I now use and love is called 365 Project. I post my best photograph of the day, every single day. I follow people whose photos I like and vice versa. That way I get to look at beautiful photos from around the world and my own photography skills have improved immensely. So I won't miss FB if it disappears. I'd rather look at a waterfall in New Zealand than someone's Farmville request. Really interesting question, Nathan.

Kermit Rose said...

Facebook is to social media as IBM is to computer manufacturing and programming.

Facebook is the first social media that included all the necessary ingredients to be permanently successful. Their future success depends on their realizing their customer needs.

Facebook may have peaked, but I expect it to settle at some reasonable equilibrium.

Kermit

Polenth said...

I've never used Facebook much. I used to be a big MySpace user, then switched to Twitter. Facebook is something I keep up because it's occasionally useful, but Twitter is better for chatting and connecting with people.

Tom Bradley Jr. said...

I live by a simple credo: Neither a Facebooker nor a Tweeter be.

Kathy Bennett said...

FB is screwing around with some member's pages and 'experimenting' with different formats and page designs.

As one of the guinea pigs, I've gotta tell you, I'm tempted to drop FB like a bad disease. I hate what they've done and I have no control. My total FB experience is ruined. I've complained to their feedback page and they don't care. I'm still using it...but probably not for long.

What's the next 'big' thing? I'd love to be at the start of a trend, rather than a latecomer.

Anonymous said...

After reading this thread, I have to say it's an interesting crowd that gathers here.

G said...

I'm a rarity of a Facebook user in that I don't play any games or use any apps beyond the NetworkedBlog app (which I can't use unless I switch to the non-secure http for viewing pleasure). I actually use it for keeping up to date with my friends.

Imagine that, using it like it was supposed to be used.

Yes, I have major concerns about privacy and malware, which is why I can't be found on Facebook by anyone and use the very nice https for surfing.

Dorothy L. Abrams said...

I'm on Twitter and find it limited. I'm on LinkedIn and find it UNprofessional despite its aspirations. I find e-mail less immediate. What I like best are blogs. Feed back is more thoughtful in blogs so if we can find better ways to search and connect through the blogs, they may answer the void Face Book leaves with it's unresponsiveness to user opinion.

Sheila Cull said...

What do I think? You tell us because now Facebook sounds like it will be more than peaked?

Hey Bransford, 'cause of you, I'm down with Twitter. And I think per you I'm blogging daily and per me, oy, posting it on Facebook everyday. But,an idea! I'll manipulate Facebook twice weekly, save time and avoid any type of peaks.

Bransford, people embracing change, out with the old, in with the Twittering, is what you wanted all along.

Congratulations!

Yeah! Thank you.

Professor Oddcabinet said...

Isn't all social media designed to be a mirage? I mean, they're not exactly building Mount Rushmore, here. *poof* Its there! It's the greatest thing ever! Everyone simply MUST learn it! Master it! Use it! Wait... *poof* There it goes. But was it ever really there in the first place? As Uncle Gertrude says, "There is no *there* there" (emphasis mine).

MJR said...

I still like Facebook. I use it to connect with family and friends and hide almost everyone else. I like putting up old family photos, youtube videos of favorite songs, connecting with cousins I haven't seen in thirty years etc--I guess, sort of uncool stuff...but it's fun...

Cathy @ Abnormally Paranormal Reviews said...

I definitely spend less time on it. I don't like it much anymore. Seems like most of my FB friends have been neglecting it lately, too.

Backfence said...

They can't just leave well enough alone already! You wind up spending half your time just trying to protect yourself from their "improvements"!

I still pop in once a day, but I block all that nonsense - games and questions and surveys and the like - which is mainly intended for purposes of gathering information to target you as consumers.

Thanks, but I, for one, am not as enamored with Facebook as I used to be.

DanaS said...

I hardly ever go to my FB anymore, but I was never into posting like most people. Twitter is MUCH more useful to me in connecting with other writers. I'm also very annoyed with the sites that badger me to 'connect through FB'. If I wanted FB connected to everything, I'd link it up. FB has already proven it has no respect for privacy. If FB were to shut down tomorrow, I wouldn't spend a moment grieving.

Caitlin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caitlin said...

I still use it quite often, but the Internet doesn't pay attention to many things for very long. I don't really think that the privacy issues will be what brings about Facebook's demise. C'mon, most people haven't cared that much up to this point. Sure they shout that it's outrageous...on their status updates. But soon enough something will come along to take it's place, and Facebook will hunker down with Myspace in the has-been pile.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I never used Facebook because I figured it would be one more way for me to procrastinate on the Internet. Not to mention I'm not very photogenic, so I probably wouldn't post any pictures of myself in my profile. And I guess that would defeat the purpose of Facebook. But since I don't use Facebook, I'm still not entirely sure what the purpose of it is. I figure it has something to do with coupons.

Alaina said...

A lot of people I know are concerned about Facebooks decision to incorporate advertising into their program. It will track what people look at, are interested in, and then hand over that information to their partners so that they can advertise different things to different users. Many I know feel it has lost its 'home user' feel with all the corporate agreements. So, only time will tell I suppose. :-)

Joe Romel said...

If they're losing people now, I'd have to say yes. Myspace drew people from the secondary sites like Friendster because it had better features and layouts, and lost users to Facebook for the same reason. What is Facebook losing users to? There isn't another site in that mold looming, as the other major social networking device is Twitter.

So if they're not moving on to a better Myspace/Facebook clone, then the paradigm must be changing. Makes sense if you think about it. The earliest sites clued us all into the idea of social networking, and Facebook perfected it...but now that everybody's here, so to speak, what now? Could it be that we're now all so in touch that our priorities are changing, and we're branching out into different mediums, namely Twitter? It's entirely possible. Facebook was the tool we used to get in touch with each other, but broken down to its essential components--statuses (which have long since been synced to Twitter accounts anyway) and pictures--it's not quite as necessary as it used to be.

I doubt we're talking about a precipitous fall here, but I think it's safe to say it's peaked. There's really no other explanation for the loss of users.

Whirlochre said...

Facebook is the plaything of Satan.

And it's 'troughed', not 'peaked'.

Personally, I have no desire to spend hours trawling through photos of people's home made cheese and snotty children.

Dan Blank said...

It's an interesting question and good discussion. For me, I'm simply amazed that regardless of whether or not Facebook fades or continues, that our culture has made a cultural shift where we want to be sharing and connecting, and are now open to online tools such as Facebook. Just 2 years ago, many people I know wouldn't have considered ever making a status update or share a photo of their family online. Now it is commonplace and something people have made a habit of checking. Thanks!
-Dan

Simon Haynes said...

Every time I visit facebook I get a hundred invites to join in brainless games whose only point seems to be generating ad revenue.
I've blocked nearly all of them, but they're a many-headed hydra.
Then there's the new 'share everything about you' features which always seem to be enabled by default. Wouldn't be too hard to include a 'never opt me in for anything' button, would it?
I guess everyone else is finally getting fed up with it too.

chitrader said...

I've resisted Facebook, Twitter, and all the latest fads because that's how I see most 'innovation'-a passing fad that may or may not prove useful to a majority of the population. Remember MySapce? Online chatrooms? Betamax videos? Heck, videos themselves are becoming obsolete.

I don't see how brief, instantaneous commumucation can survive in the long run on a mass scale. How soon before people get tired of saying in Twitter or FB, "Nothing much going on today, but I'll check back in with you after I get home from my boring job and resume my exceedingly average life."?

And once they realize that having a zillion 'friends' and/or followers hasn't enhanced their lives one iota, FB, Twitter, and the like will fade into a peripheral electronic activity, used by a respectable minority of people for whom these tools have some utilitarian value.

Lori said...

I hope it's the end of Facebook. I prefer one-on-one with my family and friends. I don't like the service and it's not personal enough for me. Maybe people will start communicating better and enjoy a great conversation in person. Too much technology in the wrong direction.

Guilie said...

The beauty of Facebook was reconnecting with people you hadn't seen / heard from in ages. It was a kind of distance class reunion. For those of us ex-pats living far away from our family and friends, Facebook afforded us an easy way to stay in touch, share photos, keep up-to-date on what was happening in everyone's life, without having to draft long, tedious and heavy (attachment-wise) emails. In that sense, Facebook will probably continue being popular for us, at least until a better option comes along. As for social networking per se, I agree with the consensus here: it's peaked.

Jenny said...

I use it about the same, but I'm not surprised this happened. It was bound to anyway.

Kevin said...

I used to be on Facebook daily. Now I go there once every few weeks, if that.

Adam Heine said...

I think the wall Facebook is hitting is that it WANTS to be open and public--like Twitter or Tumblr--so that it can attract as many people as possible who just want to dabble but don't want to be dragged into the whole "thing." But it can't be open, because that's not what it was from the start, that's not what it's users believe it is (even though it pretty much is), and every time they try to connect something new, people sue.

Actually, now that I say that, I think Facebook's real problem is perception. People perceive it as this private place where nobody can see what you're doing except friends that you allow. But it hasn't been like that in YEARS. I'm not sure it ever was.

Gran said...

I'm spending less time on Facebook, and so are my FB friends. I'm spending more time on Twitter and Blogger these days. Privacy concerns and boredom are my reasons.

Gran said...

I'm spending less time on Facebook, and so are my FB friends. I'm spending more time on Twitter and Blogger these days. Privacy concerns and boredom are my reasons.

Rebecca Kiel said...

I have no clue if it has peaked. I do know that I hear more and more people discussing the privacy issue. Most of their points are valid.

To say that FB could be used for psychological studies about the relationship between self-efficacy and strength of will in high schoolers as a means of creating future extraterrestrial control of our planet is just silliness. But that was just my attempt at ending the debate at an otherwise pleasant picnic.

Castiron said...

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.

mulligangirl said...

Though not quite the same, I can see Tumblr taking over.

Gary Baker said...

I stopped using FB about 7 months ago.
I suspect a lot of kids under 13 use it now.

Art Rosch said...

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.

Lisa said...

I'd like to know what Google Plus is going to do.

Claude Nougat said...

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...

Larry said...

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.

Kjersten said...

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.

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