It’s hard to believe that it has been 15 years since Facebook entered our reality and changed the world forever. For many, but millennials in particular, it’s pretty difficult to remember a time when checking Facebook was not a part of their daily routine, let alone the constant scrolling refresh many now perform as a ritual. Could that be about to change?
While I certainly see no time in the near future where Facebook ceases to exist, recent developments do mean it is worth examining Facebook’s current popularity and longevity potential.
There have been numerous articles and studies that suggest Facebook is in decline with many in agreement there has been a subsidence in Facebook’s popularity; the proof of which centres around the extent to which Facebook’s traffic has decreased. According to a study by SimilarWeb and data provided to CNBC, Facebook’s web traffic has declined by nearly half over the last two years. This obviously is concerning to Facebook and they, like us, are asking the million dollar question – why?
1. ‘Contoured’ Content
There has been a huge cultural shift in terms of popular content. YouTube has steadily risen in favour (related to the general growth of social video content) and Vloggers are becoming A-list celebrities with enormous following and influence. The end result is that social media use has changed from reading the questionable political views of distant relatives on Facebook to learning how to get AWESOME cheekbone definition by contouring makeup (or so I am told).
2. Trust issues
Speaking of politics, it is important to mention that Facebook itself is to blame for its traffic decline. Users trusted the social networking giant with their sensitive information and Facebook allowed this to be misused and abused. Users are now more aware than ever of what information social networks hold on them and how this information is used - the harmless began to appear much more sinister and the negative press attached to this has undeniably taken its toll on Facebook.
3. Generation Zzz
Facebook has lost its appeal among younger generations with Ofcom recently reporting that Facebook’s popularity among children aged 12-15 has fallen in favour of other platforms. Getting the next generation of connected digital savvy individuals on-board is essential for longevity. Failure to turn this trend around could have quite a significant impact for the social network, and suddenly a world without Facebook seems much more plausible.
Ultimately the digital sphere is changing daily and just as quickly as something falls into favour, something else falls out. It is mere speculation to look at how and when any significant changes might take place. That being said, we cannot ignore substantial downturns in user figures and data that suggests traffic is waning.
Is the end really nigh for Facebook? Unless Facebook provides adequate solutions to the issues above, it could well be.