Is Facebook approaching the tipping point?

Vocativ thinks it is, using disease epidemics as a parallel.

Like the bubonic plague, Facebook will eventually come to an end.

According to new research from Princeton, which compared the ”adoption and abandonment dynamics” of social networks by “drawing analogy to the dynamics that govern the spread of infectious disease,” Facebook is beginning to die out.

Specifically, the researchers concluded that “Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80 percent of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.”

As I’ve said before, Facebook’s big problem is that its “All your friends gathered together in one place” model is broken for anyone who has anything more to say than banal platitudes or sharing baby photos. It’s become the online equivalent of the awkward family dinner where there are subjects you can’t mention because they set off racist Uncle George.

I’ve getting more convinced that serious discussions on culture or politics should be taking place on forums with like-minded people where you’re not obliged to walk on eggshells because of the aforementioned Uncle Georges.

I know a lot of people who hate Facebook but are only on there because everyone else is. It’s been alienating users of late with increasingly intrusive advertising, ever-changing rules determing who does and doesn’t see content you post, and a perpetually cavalier approach to privacy. I’ve oten thought that Facebook was doomed the moment anything better came along, but now I’m thinking we don’t need somebody to go and build a better Facebook, we need to create smaller overlapping communities of like-minded people. Like we used to have, in fact, before Facebook came along.

As an aside, if you read the rest of the above link, it’s a poster child for DON’T READ THE COMMENTS. More evidence that media websites should only allow comments if the site owner is willing to invest time and effort into moderation.

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2 Responses to Is Facebook approaching the tipping point?

  1. Serdar says:

    What I want most out of an online forum, I think, are two things: civility of discourse and openness of the platform. In other words, I don’t care if the people in question are on the other side of the table from me; what I care about is how they make their case. If they resort to invective or spluttering sophomoric insult, there’s no discussion. Facebook is bad for discussion not just because it walls in the discussion, but because it becomes increasingly easy to wall yourself in with people who only think and talk like you.

    The second part of the equation should also be obvious, inasmuch as it relates to Facebook.

  2. Tim Hall says:

    At the moment Facebook keeps changing what it wants to be. At one point it was all about status updates, then they decided people who didn’t have anything to say wanted to share stuff, so they increased the emphasis on pictures. Then everyones feeds got flooded with low-quality platitude memes and people started disengaging…

    There was a time when Facebook wanted to eat the web, and every website had it’s own app, until everyone had suffered one spammy malware app too many and stopped trusting the things.

    Now they want to be curators of web content and encourage people to share links. Except instead of high-quality news articles everyone wants to share emotionally appealing low-quality crap from viral content farms like Buzzfeed and Upworthy.

    I know I’m sounding like a grumpy old man, but I hate all this rubbish…

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