Predicting the Death of Facebook
No, this is not a pro-Google+ article. This is simply an observation of trends that lead me to believe Facebook is showing signs of decay. Think back years ago to the great migration from MySpace to Facebook. Why was it that millions of people were willing to part with a semi-established group of friends to start anew on a relatively unknown platform.
One word: Simplicity.
MySpace was the PC to Facebook’s Apple-like interface. The lack of glitters and other animated gifs was an attraction to rival that of a bug zapper. Take Twitter for example, you can post a status update of 140 characters or less. That’s it. Sure you can include a link and in some cases it will show a bit of media on the side but overall, it’s text. If it’s not amazing text, people move on.
Apple has built itself as the company who is more likely to remove a feature from a system to make sure that it’s strengths aren’t overwhelmed by junk. Many PCs have every feature known to man and while a very (and I mean VERY) small crowd can appreciate this approach, Apple has always proven to have the better design that can be used and understood by the masses. People will be upset by a missing feature far less than they’ll be overwhelmed or confused by too many. It’s just in our DNA to want clutter but need simplicity.
As Facebook grows and continues to allow users to include everything from photos to Farmville requests to Spotify to images from thepeopleofwalmart.com and other randomness, the cascade of clutter begins to build in a way we aren’t quite ready to handle. I would venture to say that 90% of what we think is worth posting and will be enjoyed by others simply isn’t. Of the 10% that is, we generally lose it in the enormity of junk scrolling down the page. It’s made worse when Facebook’s algorithm that decides what’s important and what isn’t often tosses the good and spotlights the bad. A popular way to view Facebook is on an iPhone or mobile device by narrowing down the timeline just to Status Updates.
A few months ago, Google+ hit the stage to oohs and aahs for it’s beauty and visual simplicity. I simply saw another missed opportunity as Facebook users aren’t quite ready to abandon their tried and true social network. Twitter has luckily rested on the sidelines of the networks seeming to function on its own without trying to compete with the “bigger” networks when in reality, it’s only the open-format that makes it different that Facebook’s “friend” system.
Everyone is on Facebook. Everyone. This means that in order for another network to take over, it will require practically everyone to migrate to a new home and start all over. It takes time to build the connections we’ve made and users won’t readily jump ship if they don’t feel their friends will follow. So while I do not believe a feasible alternative currently exists, I do believe Facebook to be digging its own grave of cluttered timelines and “poking” the shovel deeper into the dirt. It’s simply a matter of time before we either replace it with something simpler or stop returning to Facebook.com altogether while waiting for something better.
Leave your thoughts in the comments below and keep the conversation going.