Death of Facebook

Yeah, it’s a little early to start predicting the death of Facebook.  Still, their recent disappointing IPO pointed out some issues for them, including their lack of in-depth planning regarding future revenues, and their admission that they’re not able to show ads or get revenue on their mobile versions.

Now, it’s fair to say that everyone’s mobile website sucks.  But that’s not really the issue long term for them.

40 years ago, there were a lot fewer radio formats, and even a lot fewer radio stations.  Since then, the unstoppable trend has been towards more format choices and more stations to choose from.

We used to have three big TV networks.  Now, I think my cable system has at least three different stations dedicated to programming about buying houses, re-doing houses and redecorating houses.

It’s not just media.  Back in the day, America had huge retailers like Sears and JC Penney that sold everything.  If a new chain of stores opened today that sold everything like that, it would probably be an instant failure.  We already have our mental shopping structure set up with certain niches assigned to certain stores.

So can we assume that Facebook is the Sears of social media?  People really seem to prefer the social web over Web 1.0 before social media.  Social media probably isn’t going anywhere.  However, think about the case of Google+ versus the case of Pinterest.  Google+ came on trying to out-Facebook Facebook, and has struggled ever since.  Some developers and designers really appreciate some of the subtle technical differences in Google+, which I think is similar to what some experts said glowingly about the DuMont TV network in the 50s.

Pinterest, however, feels more like a popular-yet-niched radio format coming on against a broad, undefined, established competitor.  Pinterest is not for everyone.  Some people have fallen passionately in love with Pinterest’s lush, graphic style.  I believe that if Facebook is taken down, it will be by a competitor or a series of competitors that manage to drag a certain segment of the population off Facebook for something that they just feel more drawn to.

There was a time, an earlier time in TV history, when if you wanted news, you got it from Walter Cronkite.  You didn’t make it in the entertainment world until you showed up on Johnny Carson’s couch.  Years from now, will be be reminiscing about Facebook, where it seemed like the whole world was gathering for a while?

None of this is meant to question your brand being on Facebook right now.  It makes a ton more sense than other social networks, because that’s where the people are, and they actually take action on links you post.  Still … makes you think, huh?

What do you think?  Feel free to comment below, or on the Chris Miller Digital Facebook page.

Got a question for me?  Let’s talk.

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