Will Facebook be relevant in 10 years?

Do all social networking sites have an expiration date?  It is an interesting question, and around the Summer of 2012 multiple analysts predicted the end of Facebook in approximately ten years.  Myspace and Facebook are the progeny of Friendster, as you all know.  I have owned accounts on all three social networks; and, of the three, only Facebook remains relevant.  If the two previous social networks became irrelevant, are Facebook’s days numbered?

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Facebook has done a fair amount of switching up, which frequently annoyed users post implementation.  For all of that annoyance, Facebook continued to grow, while the others got stale.  Utilizing content “Likes,” and fan pages better are just a couple of ways that the company stuck around and staved off disinterest.  As has been mentioned in previous blogs, the company is also going to try its hand in the virtual reality arena.  The company also purchased WhatsAapp, and Instagram.

Regardless of the reason, there are several avenues that Facebook could venture into to keep their brand relevant.  The first of which is mobile.  It makes sense for the company to branch out into mobile and create a phone.  Facebook is well setup to make the transition, as the marketing and advertising on the site are a couple reasons why the company is so valuable.  Advertising on the site is valued at a sum north of 400 million and growing.

Facebook could also develop a more complex search algorithm.  On a given day, Facebook nets a billion searches.  With all of the personal data and information available on the site, the company could challenge current incumbents. The company can also generate income by placing products and ads to the top for a fee.

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Finally, the company could become a pay option, operating like PayPal.  Imagine logging into Facebook, and having an area on the site where money can be deposited or withdrawn.  Many companies are going this way, including Google and Apple, of course.  Adding bank information is simple enough.  The security issue is something to tackle, but unfortunately there is a bit of trial and error that seems to occur with such sites.  Breaches will happen.  Even so, it may be an interesting idea to some.

While I do not possess a crystal ball, would I be surprised if Facebook went the way of Yahoo (still profitable, but a shell of its former self)?  I do not think so.  That does not mean I will bet against the company: They have a proven staying power.  As the social media landscape rapidly changes, it is only a matter of time before the next social networking site takes off.  In this climate what do you think is more likely, Facebook remains relevant or Facebook falls off?

Sources:

http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/mark-zuckerbergs-facebook-will-disappear-by-2020-analyst/1/185212.html

http://www.thestreet.com/story/12958879/1/heres-why-facebooks-stock-is-worth-more-than-90-a-share.html

http://www.postadvertising.com/2012/09/future-of-facebook-2020/

19 comments

  1. As an avid Facebook user, I’d say that it is very difficult for Facebook to be irrelevant because I believe that there are too much content that are useful and personal on Facebook that the extraction of it to another website or social media app will take too much effort and that many digital memories will be lost along the lines. As a third culture kid, Facebook allows me to keep in touch with alot of my friends from everywhere else, even if we have utilized other different social media sites. Facebook is like the constant amidst all the other SM out there. As part of the course TechTrek Ghana, I understood that the focus of the company will be in developing countries and it is possible that they will look to launch a phone soon. Facebook has been the SM that has for me grown and adapted to the changing environment. (From at first just posting on the wall to acquiring friendsfeed to have a newsfeed and to utlimately buy out whatsapp to strengthen its messaging platform, It often is able to adapt to the trend). I feel like they might start to develop even a function that might be momentary since clearly that the trend for SM in recent times. Interesting post!

  2. Great insights! I’ve been a Facebook user throughout its many changes, and I will agree that it’s these changes that have kept Facebook relevant throughout the years. I still use Facebook quite often, and I think it’s still useful to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances. I think Facebook’s scale is another reason for its success. With its scale comes data, and data is incredibly important today. I often think of Facebook as a backup for storing my photographs. Maybe Facebook will begin to offer storage as a more formal feature? While it’s difficult to predict the relevance of social networks and companies in general, I think Facebook will be around for a while longer.

  3. I really like this post as I ask this question a lot, actually. I usually also ask: why am I still on Facebook? (Because, believe me, there are many times when I would like to do away with a resource that has led to so many hours of distraction) I think my answer to the second one gives my answer to the first one. I’m still using Facebook because other people are still using it. What’s more, a diverse assortment of people in my life are using it: friends, classmates, relatives and acquaintances — it’s essentially a microcosm of my off-line life that I can access (and be accessed by) in an organized manner, as a “just in case” resource for if I need to get information quickly. And I think that it is the developed need to have information quickly usable and deliverable, which has come with the advent of social platforms and tools, that will make such a global (as George pointed out) resource necessary. It is hard to understand, I think, how premiere Facebook is to other regions of the world, as Americans are operating on so many different platforms, but I do think that Facebook is an engrained global community that won’t be able to truly fall out of fashion unless a platform comes along that offers some element of social networking that makes over a billion users decide to “uproot” their online identities.

  4. I think advertisement revenue and the data Facebook is constantly collecting on us will remain valuable for a long time. Thus I would say, Facebook is here to say. I believe it will continue to grow itself as an engaging social platform where user’s will begin to only see and interact with friends they actually care about. But from a business perspective all that they are doing with targeting advertising is incredibly valuable. This is how, I believe Mark Zuckerberg has kept his social media platform relevant and sustainable in the eyes of investors. With that foundation, the user growth will continue, and whether we care to admit it or not… Facebook is addicting.

  5. I really like your speculations. I like how you touch on mobile, especially since for a while there have been rumors about the possibility of a Facebook phone. Then again, I personally don’t think this would be successful given that Facebook is a software company. But, at the same time, they sort of need to expand beyond software if they wanna play it safe. Though they seem to definitely be taking the software and data and going new directions with that. For example, Johanna tweeted (https://twitter.com/ccavaluzzi/status/577240658349568000) about how Facebook is making some of its big data available to select advertisers.

    I also like how you mention the possibility of a new search algorithm. If you think about it, this is way more important than one would think — its the basis of Google winning the search game. Facebook came out with this amazing graph search not long ago but then nobody knew how to use it — and now it seems that it is no longer there. I personally really valued that feature, but no one else really did.

    Your post definitely has made me think more about the future of Facebook than I have before and I’m interested to see where it will end up as I definitely think all sites have an end of their life.

  6. Great post. I agree with what you said in the post, but I also think that Facebook will definitely stay relevant in the next decade. However, I think that there will need to be some changes to how the site is managed. The other day I read an article about how many people have died and left their Facebook account behind, leaving thousands of accounts stagnant and inaccessible. I think that there will need to be a way to manage this build up of empty accounts, as well as manage moving forward for the company. I think it’s very fair to predict that Facebook will team up with Apple maybe and create some sort of Facebook trademarked phone (especially since the Facebook mobile app is so successful). I think that through advertisements on the site and different applications/games Facebook has already pronounced itself with the use of Venmo, meaning this could also progress into some sort of mobile banking application. Thanks for your article, it’s very interesting and relevant to our class!

  7. You provide some great insight into what will most likely help Facebook stay relevant in the competitive landscape of social media. I personally am not on Facebook and have never really been an avid Facebook user, which makes me think that it’s days are numbered — but I am clearly biased. I think you are absolutely right that they will need to enter new avenues for stain power. I think the search engine and paying aspect are both great ideas.

    1. I love that you have avoided using the site. If for no other reason, there are not too many people I meet who have not opened an account: it is intriguing. If you are ever in need of an ice breaker, just randomly utter…”I don’t have a need for a Facebook account, it’s really quite useless to me.” Most people will have something to say about that. At the least, they’ll be curious. Or, maybe it is just me! Thank you for chiming in!

  8. tcbcmba2015 · ·

    The thing that keeps Facebook relevant is that the organizational structure of the company allow it to behave like other big firms that have existed for a long time. Facebook’s focus has been to be a business, which is more than just focusing on a being a tech firm. Since going public, Facebook has embraced the required principle of providing shareholders with value. The leadership team naturally extends this to also ensuring to provide users with value. In both cases, the only way to create that value is to innovate and expand into new avenues that relate to their core competencies (can you tell I’ve been in business school a while?) You did a good job pointing out where Facebook has done this and other areas where they can embark for new growth. The companies you pointed to as having gone out of fashion (including your reference to Yahoo) ended up that way because they were all guilty of the same thing. They tried to double down on protecting what they were good at and failed to get better at new and innovative things. When people got tired of the original reason they went to MySpace or found something or someone who did something better they left. People don’t leave Facebook because it’s constantly evolving and has become an important part of our online experience.

    1. I agree, TC. I think the switching up of content is what really helps Zucks and friends. There used to be, and still remains, a sizable segment who complains when any new implementation on the site takes. Will those people always complain? It is possible. We are all creatures of habit and I guess some may want their content one way or not at all. What is more, I think it is more probable that people complain and retain an account, rather than bandwagon and abandon.

  9. You have a lot of really interesting points in here! Personally, I think that Facebook is the social media site that won’t bite the dust. It possesses all of the qualities that Myspace and Friendster lacked and, as interests and desires of users change, the site also adapts. I predict that in the coming years, Facebook will remain prevalent, but, as you mentioned, users may begin to use it for different reasons. The key is to differentiate and be the first mover of some sort of concept, so I don’t necessarily think Facebook will move into some of the already available services like PayPal. I guess time will tell!

  10. I really enjoyed this post because I always wonder about the future of Facebook. Facebook has had such an impact on social media that it would be sad to see it become irrelevant like myspace. You had some good courses of action that Facebook could do, but I especially like the pay option. I agree that having a pay option is becoming popular and I think a lot of users would utilize that option if it became available. I think Facebook has had a good record of adapting and reinventing itself so I am excited to see how they continue to make Facebook relevant.

  11. This is a difficult question to predict. To me, Facebook’s key to success has not been in its currently platform but in its ability to innovate to stay one step ahead of the trends – allowing third party apps, developing Newsfeed, purchasing Instagram, moving aggressively into mobile, etc. So, I don’t necessarily see its ability to innovate being curtailed, but its always possible that they will guess wrong or grow too big to be nimble.

  12. I think it is a serious question whether or not facebook can remain relevant. Unlike its predecessors, Facebook is operating as a legitimate company, growing strategically via acquisitions or new features. While some of these new features annoy and upset current users, it is Facebook’s attempt to stay relevant or be an example of what features a social network should have. The newsfeed initially annoyed a lot of people but it is now a crucial part of any social media.
    Facebook also conducts extensive a/b testing on new features which some old networks never did. I believe the management fear the day that Facebook dies and they are doing everything they can to change and delay this outcome.

  13. I enjoyed your post and the question you’ve posted at the end. I personally think that Facebook has done an excellent job at anticipating the direction of the market. Whether Facebook and Zuckerberg can continue to do so really depends on the team that Zuckerberg has built around him. Then again, the platform in which activities doesn’t really matter. As we discussed in class, many platforms of Social Media have almost the same functions, it really just becomes a user preference. Therefore maybe Facebook’s relevance depends on if there are any competitors who will try to take over the Social Networking space.

  14. Good post Adrian! You pose some great questions here. In terms of the overarching question of whether or not Facebook will be relevant, we must first examine where we think social media will be. Like some have mentioned in comments above, I believe that Facebook is well prepared for disruption within the social media sphere. I also think the company is doing a great job of innovating and carving its own niche. The acquisition of Oculus VR is very significant and creates many opportunities for Facebook to be a first-mover in the area of integrating social media and virtual reality.

  15. Interesting post. I think Facebook has to be careful abou how it retains (and maybe even enhance) its popularity. It has long been the number one platform for sharing content. But as the last years have shown, there are more and more ways to do it (Instagram, Snapchat, …).Facebook tries to include different features in its service, which is basically a good idea, but I think that they have to be careful not to get lost while trying to be everything at once – communication platform, selling platform, video platform, … All in all I would say that Facebook has a future, but maybe it will not be as bright as its past.

  16. Really interesting thing to think about. I think that most social media platforms do have an expiration date, however, Facebook has definitely proven to be something that most people do not want to give up. I think the fact that it stores so many pictures of us from the last 5-10 years, so many people feel that it may be worth more than other social media tools because it also holds a lot of memories. At the same time, I do not see my younger siblings using Facebook as much as I do. They are much more interested in Instagram and snapchat, as well as several other apps. Perhaps it has something to do with age, but I agree with you that it wouldn’t be surprising if Facebook is on the outs, and something new takes its place. It will be very interesting to see!

    1. And, that is why I think it could spoil like the rest. The younger generation do use Instagram and Snapchat more frequently than they do Facebook. Because that is the case, how does Facebook hold on? Youth determines what is popular, that has always been the case. Older consumers age out, in a sense. Businesses want the 13 year old, and the 15 year old, who will utilize the service a lot longer than the 60 year old.

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