The thing that will kill Facebook


It’s hard to imagine a world without Facebook and yet, if this infographic is to be believed, online empires only “own” the mindshare of the market for around 11 years. This means Facebook has only three years left!!! I guess Zuck will have the cry himself to sleep with his measly billion$.

Infographic aside, the question is; what consumer behavior will displace the need to know what you’re friends have been doing over the past week? I believe the answer is: the need to know what your friends are doing right now. We are headed towards a real-time “need” for information. Don’t believe me? Look at a young adults text messages. I did a random, completely unscientific survey and found that the underlying context of texts featured where and what are you doing elements, roughly 90% of the time. And yes, as hard as it is to believe, young adults will shape online social needs in the near future.

But Facebook implemented the timeline!; you retort. They can easily handle this. Yes. This is true. But remember, it doesn’t matter what a company can do. (Google can be social. Facebook can be search based. Apple can be boring! Maybe. Sorta.) It only matters what consumers believe a brand to be. I’ve referred to this as brand concrete in the past and believe me; it’s real.

Currently, Facebook is about who you are and what you’ve done. As social moves into real-time with things like Stamped, Foursquare, etc – Facebook could be out of sync. Trends in analytics are also indicative of a move to real-time with Google’s move in September long-time entrant Charbeat and Facebook’s EdgeRank. Is Facebook’s replacement waiting in the wings?

It’s not Twitter. Twitter could be the giant slayer since it’s real-time already. But with 50% of the content created by only 20k people, it’s unlikely to be next HUGE thing. Twitter is also text-based and the future of social is going to be image/video-based.

It’s not Pinterest. Pinterest is an online business, with only 20% using mobile, and the business that displaces Facebook will be mobile. Don’t believe me? I’d like to introduce you to my little friend; Forbes. They/he site Facebook’s hesitancy to get into the mobile arena and a host of other reasons. Great article even though he used a 58 year old Web 2.0 wordle.

It’s not Instagram. Instagram is about sharing images for the sake of sharing images. The business that will kill Facebook will be about sharing experiences. A fine line I know but Facebook can’t kill itself and this may in fact be the real reason they bought Instagram. Hmmmm . . .. maybe I should change the title of this post.

So the future of social is something we haven’t seen yet. Or have we? Remember Color when it launched. This time, instead of being focused on event collages, it’s where I am (Foursquare) and what I’m looking a (Instagram/Pinterest). Collages are created organically when people occupy the same space. This evolution will be similar to the changes in blogging as WordPress (what happened) lost ground to Tumblr (what’s happening). I believe the future is a life stream that you can turn off. When it’s on and kinda boring, it’s images. When it’s an “event”, it’s images and video.

Gotta run. I need to start coding it now!

By Michael Myers