No statistics in this piece. Just a review of my own long term sentiment on Facebook.
There was a time when Facebook was *maybe* the most exciting new thing on the Internet. It was the first manageable, easy to use and comfortable way to find out news about friends and family and to share with them. (Don’t bring up MySpace, please.) People were actually excited to use Facebook. Users were excited to find people to follow and to follow them. Catching up was fun.
When was the last time you could say that about yourself and Facebook?
Don’t get me wrong, I still use Facebook. But the value of Facebook to me is directly correlated to the number of people I care about using Facebook with content I care about. And frankly, that really is eroding fast. In the beginning, almost all content was personal news of one sort or another, and we were all somewhat catching up with all these people on Facebook, and it was all interesting. But marketing crept in, which was annoying, and then political marketing crept in, and it was horrible, and then political stances became almost the primary content, and that was toxic to many. And those many stopped reading, and stopped posting, and although they still have an account, they are SO much less active.
I know, I’m one of them. And like I said, I still use Facebook. But just for a few things.
Facebook clearly doesn’t know how to clean the environment it has. They are counting on the weightiness of the big decision, the one users have to make if they are to stop using Facebook: saying goodbye to at least some of the people they have as friends. Even if that goodbye is conceptual, because those people really aren’t around in person anymore. And people put goodbyes off until they are absolutely necessary.
THAT is Facebook’s ace in the hole, that is their saving grace in business: we don’t want to say goodbye to friends and acquaintances. But when more and more folks are using Facebook less and less, it becomes harder for Facebook to depend on the friend card. And with national elections in the U.S. coming up next year, Facebook is really going to be tested in their ability to prevent their environment from becoming extremely toxic.
One thing I have seen lately are some small businesses and organizations moving their web presence to Facebook. They let their website go. This might be short-term money savings. I think it is a long-term mistake. Not only because an owner of a web site should have accessible as much control of the “home base” site as possible, but because Facebook’s value – their users – aren’t as active.
I don’t expect 2022 to be a good year for Facebook.