In case you had not heard, Facebook has been losing millions of users per month in its biggest markets, according to Business Insider, which, in turn, is citing “independent data.” It’s hard to get a feel for the exact number regardless of who’s being cited here, but it isn’t exactly surprising: The social media giant has hit its saturation point and is starting to lose people.
Or, as new media specialist Ian Maude at Enders Analysis told BI: “The problem is that, in the US and UK, most people who want to sign up for Facebook have already done it... There is a boredom factor where people like to try something new. Is Facebook going the way of MySpace? The risk is relatively small, but that is not to say it isn’t there.”
Well, speaking as a guy who hasn’t been on Facebook in years (cue a big major gasp on your part), I’ll make an educated guess. (And bear in mind, I still follow Facebook news, hence this post, but I no longer have an account on it.) Facebook will likely continue to lose more users in the coming months, but, ultimately, probably be fine in the end.
People haven’t been leaving the service in a huff like they had when privacy was such a huge concern, and generally, the vibe around Facebook’s public acceptance has been quiet but positive. The last flare-up in people even talking about Facebook frequently was when it introduced graph search. That was March of this year, and even then, it was hardly super-exciting: The service was a semantic search engine that just lets people find answers about its contacts using regular, plain English.
Not exactly what you’d call thrilling.
But Zuckerberg’s instincts have always been fairly spot-on: More and more tweaks have been made to Facebook to make it a more mobile-friendly experience, and that is where users are going. (And, to be fair, Facebook is still gaining ground in other areas, like South America.) So, is it time for you to pull up stakes from Facebook and focus, say, on Orkut? Doubtful.
What it means for you is to not stress, and focus your stressing attention to something else you have more control over. It’ll be aight.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City and an adjunct professor in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. (He also co-runs a blog behind the DePaul class, DIY Game Dev.) He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.