In a recent study, it was found that Facebook would die in next three years. I say it is likely to happen if things continue like they are happening now. Let’s dissect the study and see why Facebook have higher chances of actually dying.
We use Facebook to stay updated about our friends and their activities, but the problem with Facebook is that it hide things from you. It doesn’t show it all. Forget all, it doesn’t show you ‘most’ of the things. Whether it is a business page you’re following or your friends, you won’t see most of it.
What exactly happens? When you post an update, it reaches just to a little fraction of your friends. And only if they like it, comment on it or click on the link in it (engage with it), your update is spread to more people. And worst, the number of people who see your posts isn’t revealed to you. (It’s revealed, in case of pages though.)
How does it affect? Short answer: “It makes Facebook boring.” I am very sure that you’ve been saying lately that Facebook has turned boring now. Right? The reason behind Facebook being boring is that you don’t see new updates as frequently as you expect them to see.
Let’s understand monetization model of a social network. There are three roles that people play on any social network.
- Creator: They are the people, who create content on the network.
- Viewer: They are the consumers of the content created.
- Advertiser: They put their advertisements in front of viewers, in between the content created by creators.
And in most cases, Creators and Viewers are the two roles played by same person.
Take Youtube, for example. You, as a viewer, surf the network to consume the content created by creators. You have option to be a creator too. Creators, on the other side, create content and release it to viewers waiting to consume it. Of course, creators consume content of other creators too.
Now enters Advertiser. He places an ad with the content of the creator and it reaches to millions of viewers. Viewers can consume the ad or skip it, as desired.
Everyone has well defined role. Viewer is entertained. Advertiser got its message in front on millions of people. Creator got paid for creating the content and selling an ad on it. And Youtube makes money by taking a part of advertiser’s money.
Take twitter, for example. Creators are often the viewers and viewers are often the creators. All good. Enters advertiser. He places his ad in form of a tweet in between the organic content. You can engage with it or skip it – no big deal; it’s just a promoted tweet.
Creators get its content in front of everyone following her, viewers don’t miss any update from the people they’re following and advertisers sits in there in between the content for a brief moment.
Let’s see the roles of people on Facebook now.
You, as a creator, cannot get your updates in front of everyone following you. You, as a viewer, don’t get to know most of the updates from your friends and the pages you’ve liked.
Slowly, as the time passes, the updates from the people you disagree (because you didn’t engage with them) starts vanishing from your News Feed, and you are left with monotonous updates you liked.
Isn’t it possible to like a post without actually ‘liking’ or commenting on it? It is. And it happens most of the time.
Facebook says that this filtering is absolutely required, giving the following numbers as the reason.
It says, average user has 300 friends and like 40 pages. And everyday, there are over 4.75 billion new posts created on the network, which works out to be 4 per user. Thus, in a single day, an average user might be flooded with the around 1500 posts in the News Feed.
Okay, so there is some filtering required, of course. But the problem is that Facebook does it to make money.
Facebook is forcing creators to be advertisers too. Totally opposite to what Youtube does – Facebook asks for money from creators to take their posts in front of most of their followers and others.
And this sucks!
Facebook says, “Yes, you made a lot of friends in last couple of years and a lot of people follow your page, but to take your content in front of these people, we need your money.” Isn’t that totally opposite to the reason of existence of a social network? What’s the purpose of having fans on Facebook page? Why do you have friends on Facebook if they cannot know what’s happening in your life or you cannot know what’s happening in theirs.
Facebook is trying to make everyone don the hat of Creator, Viewer and Advertiser simultaneously.
Youtube pays creators to create content. Twitter neither pays nor charge creators to take their content in front of every follower. Facebook asks for money from creators to take their content in front of their followers.
Just like the analogy described in the study, Facebook spread quickly like an infectious disease and just like a disease, it will go out quickly too.
Just like such disease spreads – infected people coming in contact with each other – recovery is also spread by cured people coming in contact with each other.
I feel that if Facebook continues making money by ruining the experience of creators and viewers, it will degrade the overall experience over the period of time.
PS: Today is Facebook's 10th birthday and I wish it celebrates its 20th with the same excitement as its 10th. Happy Birthday Facebook! :)