Is Facebook Losing Steam?

Graphic of Facebook vs. Google



14.8% fewer Americans sent messages to friends on Facebook in July 2011 than did so in July 2009.

12.9% fewer Americans gave a digital present or gift on Facebook.

12.8% fewer Americans joined a Facebook group.

12.7% fewer Americans searched for new contacts on the social network.

THOUGHT: There was a decline in activity for ten of the fourteen categories of behavior for which the survey asked about behavior.  It was nearly the same result internationally: Nine of the fourteen categories saw a decline in activity.

So what gives?

Does this foreshadow the decline of Facebook?

History would suggest it does.

I often talk about centers of online gravity in the form of places (or sites) at which people hang out or popular activities that dominate people’s online behavior. The average lifespan of a given center of gravity tends to last from about three to six years.

Email began to become widely adopted within companies in the late 80s and early 90s and that’s where the first real widespread use of the Internet occurred.

AOL’s popularity rose during the early nineties until the advent of the World Wide Web in 1993/1994, at which point the online service began its slow decline.

The Netscape browser was released in 1994 and had set as its default home page a website named Yahoo!, which became a center of gravity from about 1995 to 1999, until Google started to eat its lunch.

Websites, then, were where it was at for the second half of the 1990s and early 2000s, at the same time as Google became most people’s de facto search engine.

Blogging rose to prominence during the early 90s but really hit the mainstream around 2005.

MySpace launched in 2003 and Facebook would open registration beyond only college students to the whole world in 2006.

The last several years, meanwhile, have seen the rapid adoption of mobile to the point where people are spending more time consuming content within mobile apps than they are on the web.

So it’s fair to ask: Is Facebook losing its grip on our imagination?

I’m not sayin’.

I’m only sayin’.

MINNESOTA MONDAY: Minnesota-based Pearson Candy Company has been sold to a private equity firm. 


Thank you for Salted Nut Rolls (allegedly, Old People’s Candy).



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