Facebook five years from now: king or has-been?

Moderated by Lawrence Dignan | May 16, 2012 -- 09:58 GMT (02:58 PDT)

Summary: In 2017, will Zuckerberg and Company rule the social Web -- or be little more than another MySpace?

Emil Protalinski

Emil Protalinski

King

or

Has Been

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Best Argument: King

Closing Statements

Here's what matters

Emil Protalinski

While some geeks and nerds may have left Facebook or stopped using it, this doesn't mean that the social network is starting to decline. There is no viable alternative to Facebook and there won't be for a long while. If you really want to switch, there are options out there, but there's nothing for the larger Internet population to use.

Facebook's stock is not doing so well. Facebook has not figured out how to monetize mobile. Facebook has ongoing privacy concerns.

All of that doesn't matter. Facebook is here to stay. What does matter is that Facebook is approaching 1 billion active users. What does matter is Facebook is hiring every smart engineer who wants to work in social. What does matter is that Facebook has more money in the bank than all other social companies combined.

Whether you like it or not, Facebook is in it for the long run.

Facebook's fate is sealed

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

When all is said and done, here are the facts. Facebook, the business, will go nowhere. Zuckerberg has got his and we already know he has no interest in the welfare of saps that bought the stock after the IPO.  I really wonder how much of anything Zuckerberg will do with the business now. I can see him -- and I'm serious about this -- just playing with it like a toy or eventually walking away from it.

As for Facebook, the social network, it's grown as much as it can. The only place it can go from here is down. Sure, its numbers may yet increase, but will those new members be valuable, would-be customers for Facebook's advertisers? I don't see how they can be.

What I see happening is that Facebook, like MySpace before it, will lose its popularity. It's constant changes of interface and privacy policies are already ticking users off. Eventually, they'll go somewhere else.

I don't know where they'll go, I just know that there are already a lot of other social networks out there -- Google+, Pinterest, Twitter -- and there are more every day. Heck, even Microsoft has just launched one of its own - so.cl . Sooner, rather than later, someone is going to come up with one that captures people's imagination and that has an interface and rules that don't change at Zuckerberg's whim.

When that day comes, I see Facebook losing its popularity as fast as it gained it. Facebook may still be around in 2017, but just like AOL, Yahoo, and MySpace before it, it will be an Internet has-been rather than an Internet power.

The social graph is real

Lawrence Dignan

Although Steven made valid points and the crowd clearly sided with him, I have to go with Emil for making a better case. Facebook isn't likely to print money like Google does, but it has a lot going for it. Facebook in the next five years will hit rough spots, but the social graph is real and the company will find a way to capitalize on it. 

Talkback

53 comments
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  • Google plus

    Google plus will rule :-)
    zdnet_sud
    Reply Vote I'm for Has Been
    • For now

      And then something else will pop up and take Google Plus by storm.

      Such is the way of the world, nothing lasts forever.
      Michael Alan Goff
      Reply Vote I'm for Has Been
    • You're joking, right?

      you have to be. :)
      William Farrel
      Reply Vote I'm for King
    • G+

      google plus is dead
      vivianvein
      Reply Vote I'm for King
  • People will ALWAYS be interested in looking into other people's lives.

    They have a huge head start over other social networks. As long as they don't do something dumb, like eliminate current features, they'll be ok.

    Remember: People will ALWAYS be interested in looking into other people's lives.
    esdrasf@...
    Reply Vote I'm for King
    • A fatal flaw in your argument.

      What happens when people stop updating their statuses?

      I for one have noticed a massive drop in people updating their statuses.

      You're right about people always being interested in other peoples lives, but you forget that people have to want to speak about their lives.

      From what I've seen, that latter trend is heading downwards fast.
      Bozzer
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • is it?

        People's desire to get attention is actually far superior to their interest in anybody else. That wont ever decline.
        nitekatt
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • True...

        Polarcat is right. We'll always have people that are so attention hungry that they'll even demand that others update their statuses...wait, is that what you're doing? ;-)
        esdrasf@...
        Reply Vote I'm for King
      • I cannot tell you how often I have spotted a long-lost friend ...

        ??? connected with them long enough to exchange a message to catch-up, and then never heard-from (or wrote-to) again.

        I am connected to a bunch of cousins who NEVER respond to my inquiries or comments, and only about half the time do people respond to my birthday wishes.

        All of my "friends" are either fraternity brothers (spanning the 1970's through the 2000's), or people I barely knew in high-school. Oh, and a smattering of people from church (whose children have signed them up. Facebook security being what it is, I even get notices from people whom I KNOW did not try to contact me.
        M Wagner
        Reply Vote I'm for Has Been
    • re/ fb

      +1 Rupert Murdoc built a global empire knowing this
      preferred user
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided