Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
Best Argument: King
Here's what matters
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
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.