…and in other news, people get bored eventually.
Last week the blog Inside Facebook reported that Facebook had lost in the neighborhood of 8 million users from the United States, Canada, and other industrialized countries.
Since there, there’s understandably been discussion and analysis about what that means. Blake Snow posted some analysis of this over at CNN talking about some of the reasons why people are dropping Facebook.
It’s an interesting read, and to his credit, Snow isn’t predicting the coming demise of Facebook.
While some might take the declining numbers and anecdotal evidence of people deleting their accounts as the first sign that Facebook has peaked and is starting its decline, I think that evidence tells a different story. I think that evidence tells us that Facebook is becoming better understood, more mature, and more integrated into our lives.
Let me give a personal example (and show I’m old too). When I was six or so in the mid 1970’s, my mother brought home from work an amazing new thing called a “calculator“. I was amazed and played with it for hours, most of the day in fact. But over time, they became more common and more broadly used. And so over time, they became better understood and more integrated into my life. I don’t spend hours playing with calculators like I did that day, but I can’t live without them. Some people though, don’t need them. But I’ll bet they’ve used them at some point in their life because they’re so integrated.
I think the same applies to Facebook (and other social media). We’ve all had time to start figuring out what’s its good for, what it’s not good for, what we like about it, and what we don’t like about it. I may not use it as much as I did before, but where I do use it, I use it more intelligently and meaningfully. It’s more integrated into my life than it was in the early days.
My take on this (and there’s some hints of this in Snow’s article at the end) is that social media has shown its a permanent new addition to our world of communications, just like when the telephone became widely used in the mid-Twentieth century. The demise of Facebook won’t come about because people don’t see a need for it in their lives. The demise of Facebook will come about much like the demise of the old Trimline telephone I used that same day my mother brought me the calculator: because something will better fill its space in our lives, giving us even more capabilities and options.