Rumors of Facebook’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Just weeks after Facebook’s less-than-epic IPO, naysayers of the world’s largest social network have been piling on with stories about its inevitable demise. One such story even went so far as labeling Facebook boring(!).

As the person who wrote “Has Facebook Jumped the Shark?” on the eve of the IPO, I’ve speculated on how long can the phenomenon that is Facebook last? I equated Facebook’s slight loss of popularity with me…and the handful of hipsters, family members and Class of ’79 high school acquaintances I run with to the episode of “Happy Days” when Fonzie proverbially lost his cool and the show’s popularity began a descent it never recovered from.

Yet – I stopped short of forecasting Facebook as sinking so low that it would turn into nothing more than a “Joanie Loves Chachi” spinoff or MySpace wasteland. The data nearly 900 million people voluntarily plunked into the site alone had to be invaluable.

“The Case for Facebook” by Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic underscores the data goldmine fact. Madrigal also points out:

  • In the 10 minutes it took you to read famous writer X’s essay about leaving Facebook, more than 2,000 Brazilians, Indians, Indonesians, and Mexicans joined.
  • With its purchase of Instagram, Facebook became the dominant photo player on an increasingly visual Internet.
  • One in every five page views on the Internet is a Facebook page. If you think the Internet is valuable, then you implicitly think Facebook is valuable, too.

But wait – there’s more. “Facebook is a natural (tech) monopoly, and natural monopolies tend to be stable, profitable and rare, thus good investments,” says investor Paul Kedrosky.”…such companies tend to be underestimated by the markets, with most people initially skeptical.”

Just the tip of the iceberg as far as refuting some of the backlash goes.

A few other facts from The Atlantic piece:

  • Facebook users spend an average of 405 minutes per month on the site. Its nearest competition? The combined total 227 minutes people spend on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google+.
  • Just because Facebook is no longer as thrilling to me – and my fellow North Americans, 80% of Facebook users are from other parts of the world. Talk about global market capture!
  • Sure, we all know that Facebook has acquired Instagram. But it’s also acquired numerous design tools, apps and top design execs, including one from Apple. Watch your white and blue space.

Obviously, the rumors of Facebook’s death have been greatly exaggerated. We’ve posted this photo of Fonzie at the top of his game as a reminder. Jumping the shark isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you do it successfully, you end up on the other side of the tank, home free.

Source: The Atllantic, “The Case for Facebook” by Alexis Madrigal.

A Future Without Facebook? What People Are Talking About Online This Week, June 4-8

Was it really just three short weeks ago we wrote the headline “Epic!” in talking about Facebook on the day of its historic IPO? (In our own defense, we also wrote the story “Has Facebook Jumped the Shark?” on the eve of the IPO.)

This week, it seems that one-third of Facebook users agree that Facebook has become a bit passé. In fact, one survey finds that this one-third consider Facebook downright boring. Another survey of some 1,000 Americans found that 50% believe the social network is merely “a passing fad.” That’s right, 500 people can’t be wrong. These two unrelated stories, along with Facebook’s apparently overinflated IPO, and another story that claims 4 out of 5 Facebook users don’t pay any attention to the advertising on the site, have got us thinking. Are we about to face a future without Facebook?
Probably not. But the novelty of Facebook as a way to reconnect with long lost friends, lovers and distant relatives, the mini-voyeuristic voyage we went on each time a “blast from the past” request lit up the two-headed icon to the left of our messages and notifications, is long gone. While every Facebook “change” – whether it be to its privacy terms or layout – has received its fair share of backlash and conspiracy theory rants in our news feeds, none have effectively driven any large majority of anyone off the site. Facebook is simply too addictive for some, has replaced tedious email and intrusive texts as the preferred way to have an informal exchange for most, and is in little danger of a rival social network coming along anytime soon to take its place (hello Google+ and yes, Sean Parker, we heard about Airtime). 
What else are people talking about online this week?
  • Mitt Romney still can’t spell. You’d think his campaign would put out a call for an eagle-eyed proofreader after last week’s “Amercia” debacle. But no, the Republican candidate for President’s interactive app has two more misspellings.
  • Forgot where you parked your car? Hey, it happens. And, now there’s an app that can help you find it. (Breathalyzer not included.)
  • Remember the good old days of spontaneous online AOL chats and chat rooms? The above-mentioned Sean Parker has launched a new video chat service called Airtime to capture that old-time feeling. Early reviews liken it to a less clunky version of Skype.
  • Still convinced Facebook is boring? Then you’re probably ready to read a book that claims social media is killing our species. It’s called Digital Vertigo by Andrew Keen.
Oh, the humanity! Visit our Online Media Roundup – it’s way less boring than Facebook – and find out what people are talking about online and join the conversation.

Mitt’s Great Amercian Typo: What People Are Talking About Online This Week, May 28-June 1

Forget the real news – Mitt Romney put the Republican primary season out of its misery Tuesday night when he officially clinched his party’s nomination for President. Yes, it will be Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama in the November showdown for President of the United States of Amercia (typo intended).

Romney’s road to the nomination has already been marred by what many on the left have referred to as the “GOP clown car.” He’s done battle with far more right-leaning and outrageous types (Michelle Bachman, Newt Gingrich and the Ricks – Santorum and Perry) to get here. And in the wee small hours of the morning after he became his party’s nominee, no doubt while he and Ann were fast asleep, his campaign released its new app – I’m with Mitt – encouraging supporters to take photos of themselves showing signs of support for “a better Amercia” (typo intended). That’s right, the man who wants to be the next leader of the free world is now allied with the typo heard ’round the world.

But it’s okay one writer told us. It’s not that Romney’s team can’t spell. It’s more like typos make the Internet go ’round. In fact, some typos aren’t really typos at all! There’s a whole typo language out there called “leet” and if you haven’t heard about it before Wednesday, you will probably be hearing more about it throughout the upcoming campaign. Meanwhile, another writer tells us that the typo is still there. Mitt’s message is not so much a hidden one in some bizarre typo language. It’s simpler than that. Mitt’s message to America: “I don’t use spellcheck.”

Ho-hum. What else were people talking about online this week?

Keep up with these and other stimulating conversations on our Online Media Roundup. Join the conversation, beware of typos.