Remember MySpace? Maybe not. Social media platforms exist in bubbles and, sooner or later, all bubbles burst.
Facebook is currently the world’s biggest social media site, with over 2.23 billion users across the globe. But many believe that the platform is dying – ready to be replaced by a rising new generation of social media sites and apps that appeal to the needs a younger generation.
Facebook began in 2004. Fourteen years later, the original wave of users has matured and no longer find the platform as useful or relevant as they once did. With the first generation of users growing up, getting married and having children, the site has lost its cool factor, with conversation centering around work and pensions rather that wild parties.
As Facebook began to promote suggested content and offer paid advertising opportunities, many began to view the site as having sold out, losing its interesting and entertaining organic content to money making mechanisms. As Twitter emerged in 2006, the younger generation made the cross over as they favoured a more fast-moving environment and the opportunity to engage with celebrities and high-profile figures.
Many adults now use Facebook as a glorified address book, a means of keeping lines of communication open with distant family members and old school friends (and when your Dad opens a Facebook account, it’s probably time to jump ship.) Facebook also poses a number of security concerns which preoccupy the older generation. It’s easy to create multiple accounts and fake profiles and this, along with the unregulated nature of Facebook’s buy and sell groups, have sparked enough concern to put off some users for good.
The sheer variety of alternative social media apps and platforms on the market mean that Facebook’s share must surely be diluted. Teens and young people are fickle, jumping to the latest trend without a second thought. Instagram, What’s App, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, WeChat, Skype, Linked In, Reddit……. the advent of each new site offers a greater range of choice, with each of us using the one that’s most immediately useful and casually discarding the rest.
In comparison to many new sites, Facebook is now a dinosaur; slow moving and failing to offer the range of different functions now found with individual platforms (instant messaging, sharing news and opinion, dating, business advertising, image sharing etc.) Many of us now spread our interest across several different apps where once a single Facebook profile would have met all of our needs.
Some Facebook users also report being turned off by the site’s nauseating ability to allow people to share their wonderful lives, gushing about having the best job, spouse or home on the planet. Facebook allowed users to create a dream world in which only the best of their experience was shown, leading some experts to question its effects on our mental health as we struggled to keep up with our peers. These days, users share less and less personal material on the site, using it as a means of accessing the buy/sell marketplace or discover new products and hearing about new events. It seems like we may be over oversharing, and that sounds like a good thing.
In the Western world, we are becoming more aware of how limited out free time now is, and how much of it we waste on social media. Many adults are turning to the likes of What’s App as a means of quick, no nonsense communication that’s not as distracting as the vortex that is Facebook. We like to get tasks done and move on, freeing us up to spend more time with our families or devote more attention to our careers. Facebook has become a foe rather than a friend.
Some will argue that as more and more people around the globe gain access to the internet, it’s natural that more will join sites like Facebook late in the day, ensuring their long-term survival. The evidence suggests, however that social media platforms may be like stars – enjoying a brief moment of brightness before fizzling out and dying to be replaced by new ones.