No I’m not years out of date… I’m pondering if Facebook has gone too far with privacy, over-sharing and continual changes that it’ll go the way of MySpace i.e. in decline and then mass exodus?
This is a post I started on Feb 15th (originally titled “Is 2011 the year Facebook goes into decline”), I wrote a post about the life-cycle of social networks but wasn’t bold enough to publish it – I wish I had.
The recent changes (and impending change of profiles into timelines) on Facebook for passive sharing (read, listened) from explicit sharing have generated a lot of debate:
…and there are plenty more discussing these changes in minute details, I’ve added my thoughts to the second of those posts in the comments.
There is a more philosophical question here that I haven’t seen asked yet – what are the factors that make people change social network?
Let’s think about MySpace vs Facebook and some of the factors that caused the exodus:
- MySpace had the critical mass, it was the clear leader until a couple of years ago.
- Facebook offered a simpler, cleaner interface that made connecting with your friends easier.
- MySpace got bought by News Corp and was seen as a big company rather than a cool young upstart.
- MySpace “got old”.
How do these stack up with Facebook?
- Facebook is the clear leader, that could change.
- Facebook is rapidly getting more cluttered and the volume of information is creating, in some, a feeling of information overload.
- Facebook is now seen as a big scary, privacy dismissing beast.
- Facebook has your mum, gran and aunty on it… it’s “got old”
If people leave Facebook it will be because:
- They feel they’ve lost too much control
- The signal to noise ratio gets out of balance
- There is another big privacy issue
- As a business user, they change the rules of the game too many times
- The early adopters move to somewhere else and people follow
So where next?
No, I don’t think so – It won’t be to go to more-of-the-same and whilst some wrote it off too early (before they launched business pages, was too early to judge in my opinion) Google+ doesn’t have these key differences the next big social network needs to become the new #1.
I thought Diaspora could of been a candidate, it needs some muscle behind it to grow into those shoes. One thing I’m certain though is that the game is changing, users are uneasy and if I was Facebook I’d be worried.
As ever, I’d love to know your thoughts.Read More