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Facebook will be extinct in the next five years!
Great idea - is social media just a fading craze?
Facebook started the social media craze we are experiencing, however there are a few underlying changes taking place that will obsolete Facebook and will cause the brand to be extinct. Will it be replaced with other social media?
Looking at the history of Facebook, it is an enjoyable experiment with the psychology of who people really are. Many people who did not grow up with this technology, find Facebook irrelevant to their lives and really don't care what other "friends" are doing on a day to day basis. Although many of these types didn't adapt the smartphone right away, once it had a practical application side, many from the baby boomer generation adapted the technology.
For the newest generation of Facebook users, you will find the fascination of communication and the "moment of fame" that comes by posting updates all the time. However, for many initial heavy Facebook users, the charm wears off as they grow older and have other priorities...in other words, we really have too many other things in our lives that are important, than wondering where and what the social network is doing.
Facebook has this attraction to FAME for some people, growing up without Facebook, people were popular for school events, whereby now you can be the most popular kid in school for a variety of other reasons....mainly, being diligent in posting something all the time. The downside to Facebook is that many embellish or flat out lie about what they are really doing, because they want to be relevant to everyone else, which is probably half the fun of being on Facebook and being popular.
But Facebook has certain challenges ahead of it, one of that being it is being transitioned into a commercial enterprise of business. Up to this point, any commercial type business on Facebook has found it to be a difficult marketplace, one in which the Facebook society frowns on. Because the social networking is about being involved with groups that have an interest to the subscriber, with opinions based on personal experiences, it is difficult to contaminate that platform.
As Facebook becomes a capitalistic enterprise, the search for profitability AND integration with social media users will be the challenge that everyone is trying to figure out. If too much commercial integration is brought into the medium, does Facebook become the Internet which was built around communication and became a commercial entity? That is the challenge to having the company ran by the founder, yet the pressures of a publicly traded stock to perform as an investment driven business. Will the founder be able to grow the company to keep it's core values of social media, and be able to provide a profitable business model?
There are a lot of very intelligent people working on this aspect of the business, and it has a lot of interesting methods for developing revenue for the company. As computer technology goes, Facebook has a high stock value because it can track the users so easily, and can "sell" the information to marketing internally, so that advertisers can really target their customers. With so much information available from the users, things like demographics, age category, buying habits, social media groups, etc., you can see why the stock evaluation is high.
When advertisers can target the consumer down to a high degree of success with marketing to the right individuals, it will draw this money into the business. Instead of spending millions of dollars to advertise on television to an unknown audience, it is more difficult to spend the advertising budget on this type of media. However, if you get the spending habits, location, age, gender, likes/dislikes, and any other criteria that fits the buyer for the product, and you can buy the advertising for much less, why wouldn't you?
Facebook is very efficient in delivery of the advertisement, and models will be built as to how the ROI or return on investment can be duplicated. Just like the Internet with its growth and more direct methods of delivering the message, it becomes imperative to be in this media. But wait...there is competition wherever there is money to be made, and that may be a new platform that is more appealing and wipes Facebook off the map. Good question, no one knows for sure.
If Facebook has to begin charging a monthly fee...how many will pay a small fee to be a member? Obviously your number of subscribers will go down, but providing enough value it would probably be an acceptable offer. However, the difficulty is that once you have everyone under the pretense of a free experience, it is much more difficult to start a subscription. It is in some ways, the law of primacy with everyone used to it being free, changing that is easier done by a new company offering a better experience...and charging for it.
So is Facebook and social media just a trend that will fade away? I think the social media, because of it's appeal as a communication platform, will be popular but with not the same high growth rates it has experienced since its inception. However, I do see it blended into a more commercialized business, because it takes people, equipment, and business structure to provide the service. If you remember the America On Line or AOL as the first venture into personal Internet interaction, including CompuServe...where are they now? They were leading edge providers of Internet service, but the technology changes left their platforms outdated and they faded away. This will be the challenge for Facebook the stock...I am not a buyer!