Facebook’s popularity is beginning to wane in the very place where it was born, the American middle-class. There has been a general burnout and the shiny toy, like all shiny toys, has lost its novelty and faded to metaphorical grey. Mark Zukerburg failed to make it the utility that he wished to. That utility was lost, partly, because the only things Facebook was really good for outside of social networking was hosting a webpage for amateurs. As I cannot code nor am fluent in any coding language yet have managed to build my own website with an email list, it is clear that usefulness has been done better by Wix, Google Sites, WordPress, and more. I have an email list for this website and it gets any message I want to the people who want to hear it in a format I have more control over than I would a Facebook page. I’ve discussed why, psychologically, people hate social media but I haven’t done the less scientific thing of forecasting the future.
The reason I left, more than anything, was the metric shunning. The knowing who and how many people hated me and how unpopular I was. In real time, I could tell who was blocking me, unfriending me, and the response to my online interactions which was a source of eternal misery. Many people agree. Today, we are in the nascence of whatever the internet is going to be. Traditional social media carries with it everything painful about human society and makes it worse so people are going to turn to the platforms where they can get more of what they want and less of what they don’t. WordPress, Wix, Mailchimp, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, webmail, and just texting are seeming to be the new online avatars for people.
On WordPress, you’re selling to an audience whose truly interested unlike Facebook where no one really cares. I agree, it’s great to stay in touch with people from long ago and occasionally catch-up. I’m not like others who say that you should forget acquaintances from high school. Y’all should get coffee if y’all happen to see each other on the street yet there is no reason care about their daily routine. This is to say the internet is now becoming a place where people don’t use it to socialize, generally, but to target people with their own specific interests. Bloggers and small businesses use website platforms like this and others with dummy accounts follow them. Every article of information is more meaningful than Facebook because stuff on a blogging or business website isn’t used to narrate mundaneness but actually useful information. So, people are turning to online platforms more for useful information than useless information. The same goes for the email platforms like the various webmails, Listserve, MailChimp, and others. People email each other, mostly, with useful information.
Facebook is declining among its original demographics and will likely fall into more disuse in the same order of demographics that it came into popularity with. The exciting idea of going to a party with friends like every second loses its glisten once the reality sinks in. That hasn’t happened for Thailand or Kenya, yet. However, as the same problems inevitably arise in the less developed areas of the world, Facebook will die off. That is the platform. The company will likely survive by buying subsidiaries and shares of other companies. I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook became a conglomerate that was involved mostly in tech investment and had an assortment of website and email platforms. That said, its market share will decline substantially even if it only sinks to the B-list and doesn’t completely fade away.
Its ad revenue also can’t compete with freemiums. That is online platforms with a free basic package that charge for nicer amenities which is the way most online platforms work now. The online marketplace has learned how to charge money for things outside of advertising but Facebook has nothing to offer worth buying. A simpler version of Facebook wouldn’t work for the most basic functions of a social networking platform so it either relies on advertising revenue and selling data but it can’t sell its own product to consumers and must host it for free. Unless a freemium version of a website has workable functions for its most basic uses, it cannot sell its own product. Which means slowly Facebook will become a less profitable platform for investors compared to others and the investors will go to other platforms. This would only concern the traditional part of Facebook, that is the subsidiary that runs it.
The death of Facebook is not going to be the downfall of the company but that isn’t the importance of the downfall. The importance of the downfall is that without traditional social networking, society will greatly change. Much of the misery of the 2010s decade will be over. The electioneering of 2016 will pass away, for the most part. I lack the wisdom to make the predictions of what will happen so I can only say that 2020’s will be defined by the transition away from traditional social networking as much as the 2010s was defined by its normalization and mainstreaming.