Zuckerberg in Critical Condition?

Published by: Andrew Paul    |   Category: Blog, Business    

No, Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t been in a car accident or been hurt in any way. As far as we know, he’s probably hanging out, drinking some carrot juice at his Palo Alto mansion, but his social media empire might not be faring so well.

Is Facebook entering a digital stone age? Was it just a fad that will dwindle away and suffer the same fate as the once “all-to-popular” MySpace? As Facebook plans to file its IPO in the coming months, Forbes writer Peter Cohan comments that this initial public offering can’t come soon enough. With its revenues declining by 6% in the fourth quarter of 2011 and its expenses doubling, is Facebook no longer “too big to fail”?

There’s no denying that Facebook changed the entire online landscape and rose up quicker than we could have all expected or even imagined. However, Beanie Babies revolutionized the entire stuffed animal market and became somewhat of a cultural icon of the day. Do you see store merchants struggling to keep these collector items on the shelves? That’s what I thought.

If trends continue along this path, will Facebook even be in existence 5 years from now?

As 80% of Facebook’s revenue is generated from advertising, it is clear that businesses have, in the recent past, entrusted Facebook to reach niche markets and increase exposure of product or service offerings. The rate of growth in the number of new Facebook users from July 2010 to March 2011 was a staggering 8.38 users per second. On the other hand, from September 2011 to December of the same year, that rate declined to approximately 5 new users per second. As the popularity of this social media outlet is shrinking and as a significant percentage of old users are entering the workforce and leaving Facebook behind, it is becoming more apparent now than ever before that the novelty of this platform is slowly wearing off.

Barney Stinson’s character on the popular television sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, effectively captures the spirit of the digital age when he states , “Forget every other rule I’ve ever stated because every other rule I’ve ever stated is old and I have only one rule: New is always better.”

In the ever-changing and dynamic world of social media, what is popular and exciting today is old news tomorrow. Social media platforms must keep pace with the trends in order to stay afloat and survive in the midst of constant innovation. As the population is becoming increasingly dependent on mobile technology, shifting to mobile should be on the forefront of business strategy. However, as Facebook has had a rough time making strides in the mobile world, can we really expect them to adapt to future trends as fast as the other big dogs out there?

Judging by the rapid pace of innovation in the tech world today, can we justifiably expect Facebook to disappear in the next few years?

Why? Because in the social networking landscape, we have all been witnesses to the “next best thing” phenomenon. The minute that someone comes up with a new idea and experiences success, it’s just a matter of time before someone else comes up with something even better, putting the previous idea to shame. Unless Facebook constantly distinguishes itself from its competitors and adapts to the increasing demands of its users, it will follow in the footsteps of MySpace and join the Titanic at the bottom of the North Atlantic.

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