In the Facebook world, the first week of 2012 started off like many years before it: a lot of news, a handful of rumors, some speculation, and of course a loud cry that Facebook is going the way of the dodo. I'd like to remind people of something they seem to completely forget. Facebook is here to stay, even if you delete your account.
Earlier this week, Uncrunched wrote an article titled "Nobody Goes to Facebook Anymore. It's Too Crowded." On the surface, this appears to be a ridiculous claim, given that the social network broke a record late last year, when it saw 500 million users log onto the service in just 24 hours.
So the first part is clearly not true. The second part is very, very subjective. The main argument of the article appears to be simply that Facebook users have too many friends and that they are being overloaded with content. Hence Jimmy Kimmel's National UnFriend Day and De-Facebooking. A New Year's Resolution?.
I was trying to figure out the best way to respond to the article's claims when I finally stumbled on the answer, on Reddit of course. The image is embedded at the top of the article since it amusingly summarizes the point I'm trying to make: even if you quit Facebook, you'll still talk about it.
There is a small percentage of Facebook users who are very vocal. They are broken up into two groups: those who threaten to quit Facebook and those who quit Facebook. Both groups love to complain about the service, and some of them like to offer alternatives. These include Twitter, Google+, Path, and any number of Facebook killers.
If Facebook is too overcrowded for you, then either clean out your friends list or just leave altogether. Just remember that regardless of what you end up doing, Facebook will still be around, because people are using it more and more, not less and less.
In a recent Business of Software class I took, the professor said it was perfectly okay to polarize people. If you had users who loved your service and individuals who hated it, you've struck gold.
Facebook is often compared to Myspace; people argue that the former will see the same fate as the latter. I don't think so. People complained about Myspace because it wasn't doing anything to improve its service. People complain about Facebook because it's constantly trying to improve its service. That's huge.
There are people who hate Facebook, a lot. That's okay. Microsoft has haters. Google has haters. Apple has haters. All these companies are still around, and likely will be for many more years.
In the end, this comes down to one observation I made a few years ago about how to make sure your company lasts longer than the expect life of your product. What do Microsoft, Google, and Apple have in common with Facebook, but not with Myspace? They're all platforms.
Facebook isn't like Myspace because it's not just a social network. It's a service that millions of users and thousands of companies rely on. So, let me say it again. Even if you delete your account, Facebook is here to stay.
- Google to Facebook: "We are delighted to be underestimated"
- Facebook is destroying Google in time spent online (chart)
- Facebook now lets you update Twitter
- Google: Facebook is becoming "a closed walled garden"
- Sean Parker: Facebook's power users have gone to Twitter, Google+
- Twitter more popular than Facebook in 2011
- The rich flock to Facebook, don't bother with Twitter
- Facebook is beating Google in 'the battle for eyeballs'