Facebook will conquer more than just social networks

by , Technology Researcher Technology 15 June 2011
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You might think it’s a little behind the times to say ‘Facebook is the future’ – it’s very much in the ‘now’. Then again, new figures depict Facebook’s decline. Either way, let me tell you – Facebook will soon take over.

Facebook images online

According to a recent Inside Facebook report, Facebook’s active US users dropped by almost six million last month. In the UK, numbers were also down by around 100,000.

These figures prompted a number of bodacious articles declaring the decline of Facebook’s popularity. However, internationally the number of active users had again grown. The social networking giant’s stranglehold might be loosening in the UK and US, but it’s tightening in countries like Mexico, Brazil and India.

And who knows how much bigger Facebook could become if China ever opened its doors to the site. It would soon smash through the 700 million user mark it’s edging ever closer to.

Broadcasters sign up

Online marketing agencies (and the brands they represent) have benefited from the number of Facebook eyes looking at their ads for years, but what’s next for Zuckerberg?

Well who, if not brands, need an audience? Answer: performing artists, film studios, musicians, pop stars and news channels. At present Facebook users regularly share their pictures and videos with friends, but we’re beginning to see more broadcasters sharing their content and turning it into dosh.

Al Jazeera broadcasts its news on Facebook 24 hours a day, and I fully expect to see more pop stars and Hollywood studios joining them to create exclusive Facebook content.

In fact, I believe Facebook has the potential to be an even bigger video portal than YouTube, simply because it has a stronger underlining social network, with clearer viewer identities. On Facebook, broadcasters can very accurately target specific content at audiences who actually have a taste for it.

And it’s not just content, but shopping too. Direct purchasing will also grow on the social network, with ‘Facebook credit’ likely becoming the new dollar. Could eBay or Amazon be Facebook’s next victims?

Facebook’s growing up

Sure, Facebook numbers may look like they’re reaching a plateau, but as soon as the next killer Facebook feature comes along the community will refresh, and users will be tempted from deleting their profile.

Facebook might have been established all the way back in 2004, but despite it’s huge success since then, I still think we’ve only seen its formative years. In 2011 Facebook is in its awkward adolescence, but before long it’ll grow up to be a powerful adult.

Research from MyVoucherCodes suggests that 34% of Brits are bored of social networking. That may be so, but Facebook will become much more than just a social network, it will grow into a broadcaster and shopping destination – mark my words.

19 comments

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wavechange

Well I hope Facebook fails. They make obscene profits from manipulation of the general public.

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Fat Sam, Glos

They can only get out what you put in. The less you put in the less they can use.

If everyone used it just to share occasional banter with their mates (and let’s face it, most of us probably only access our FB accounts for a few mins a day whilst sat on the bogs at work) then they shouldn’t be too worried about what they do with their info.

My personal info is kept to a minimum, I don’t reveal locations, I’m not sad enough to play any FB games (I don’t care that you’ve just bought a new zombie pig or give a monkey’s that you’ve just earned a zillion points because you’ve worked out what kind of plastic amoeba you are – get a life!), I don’t put up thousands of photos that no one can ever be bothered to flick through. I don’t even click on their ads.

I just use it to share a few random thoughts and some jokes and take a small amount of pleasure from the banter all that generates. My Wednesday night Apprentice thoughts regularly generate over 130 comments!

I’d say it’s costing FB more money to maintain their servers for the tiny amount of bandwidth I generate than any benefit they may get from me as a user.

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dave harsh

“34% of Brits are bored of social networking” – wonder why that is?

I don’t understand why people want to be part of an online marketing tool. If you want to share photos with your friends, send them by email, if you want to share banter, fire up MSN or Gtalk or pick up the phone. FB makes people lazy. One of my friends was completely uncontactable at one point, post a message to him on FB and he replies in seconds. This angered me so much, I left and have never been back.

By publishing your entire life on facebook you are clearly seeking attention. They are not the type of people I normally hang around with, but it turned out that most of my friends and family were in fact that way inclined. To save me from punching them when I saw them, I “deleted” my account (facepalm)

Facebook will not take over, as long as there are free-thinkers in the world. All the archaic companies of this world are all “getting on facebook” so that they can “get with the kids” when in fact, they put so much emphasis on it that they forget their core customer base who aren’t on facebook. It’ll all be gone before long, unless it has a USP like myspace did (music and bands) it will just end up going the way of the dodo

In a way you’re social networking right now on Which? Conversation…

Facebook is a good way to keep in touch with friends, many of whom you can’t see in person, or haven’t seen for a long time. It’s a very efficient tool to… social network.

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wavechange

Patrick wrote: “In a way you’re social networking right now on Which? Conversation…”

I wondered how long it would be before someone would make this point. The difference is that Which? Conversations and many similar discussion forums are not making huge profits and have not attracted a lot of public criticism.

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dave harsh

How can message boards be social networks?

There is no facility to “connect” with “friends”, plus all the other stuff which I can’t be bothered to list.

If they really were your friends Patrick, you’d call them….. ;-)

What many on facebook fail to realise, is that you lost touch with them for a reason. If you really valued them as a friend, you wouldn’t have lost touch.

I don’t think that’s quite true. What if you don’t have their number? What if you have moved apart, but now feel a need to reconnect with them? People aren’t in the Yellow Pages any more – they’re on Facebook.

Plus, why pay for a call when you can use a ‘free’ service like Facebook? It’s great for organising parties too, and sharing online content with your mates. There’s no doubt it has huge benefits – if it didn’t, 700 million people wouldn’t be using it.

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dave harsh

err skype?

You clearly didn’t hold them in high enough regard if you didn’t have their number. Regardless of how you dress it up, subconsciously, their friendship wasn’t that important to you, or you would’ve kept or made a point of keeping their number.

Saying that 700million people like isn’t a way of defending it, I seem to remember quite a few million people liking national socialism a few years ago, also quite a few people buy records by Justin Bieber and watch “So you think you can dance”, does that make them any good? didn’t think so :-)

Oh and people never were in yellow pages, that is a business directory

It’s hard to keep in touch with all your school friends Dave, and I have reunited quite a few friendships through Facebook. I’ve also know quite a few people to change their phone numbers – the only way I could find them was through FB.

And touché ;)

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fat sam

@dave harsh: share your photos by email?! That’s so last century! I remember those days – people who didn’t understand re-sizing sending you tens of 5MB photos of a blurred holiday image that you’re forced to open just to see what they contain. who has time for that. FB gives you thumbnails – much easier and I can choose whether to look or not.

Share banter on MSN? Great if you’ve arranged all your friends to be on MSN at the same time. By which time you may as well have arranged for them all to have come round. FB offers convenience – people can dip in/out or join conversation when it suits them.

I do still call friends and text them but I think even they would get annoyed if I kept interupting their evenings every night for a 30 second chat. Get real!

If you lost touch you lost touch for a reason? I ‘re-discovered’ old friends from primary school, some of whom live close by and now we have regular nights out on the lash.

I suspect those who complain the most about social networks… are actually those who probably do the least amount socialising in real life and use the internet (probably for ‘other reasons, nudge nudge..). Only a hunch, but at a guess I’d say i’m not far off the mark. People who are naturally sociable are probably more likely to use online social networks as an extension of their normal social lives. One is def not a substitute for the other.

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fat sam

I’d also like to add that FB is great for planning social events. Everyone can share their availability with everyone else in the loop and everyone can see what the arrangements are.

Gone are the days when one person rang round then waited for an answer or someone couldn’t answer and then calling everyone to tell everyone they’ve rung people but haven’t heard from X, Y, Z and oh, now I’m calling you all coz Q can’t make next weekend and we’re back to square one for planning… I’m surprised more people didn’t lose the will to live!

What a pain in the buttocks those days were! Can’t see how email, MSN, the garish teen-based Myspace or even Skype can do all that as efficiently as FB.

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dave harsh

Maybe I’m just showing my age…..

I personally don’t want to hear from my old school mates, sure they’re decent enough guys but I have my best friends and my girlfriend. Spreading your love amongst so many, you end up neglecting the people who actually mean something to you.

I have friends in Leeds, Manchester, Coventry and Rugby that I am in regular contact with. We share photos via email, but also music and “proper” banter, not facebook banter (the one where the “friend” gets offended by the language you and your real friend use) plus we call each other and catch up once in a while. I don’t feel the need to know everything they are thinking or doing every minute of the day, that’s their life, not mine.

I also do not like to be contactable by instant messages all the time, I find this an intrusion on my privacy, so if people need to contact me, they call or text me. I am always offline unless I am at work or we have organised a chat room.

Working with computers, I really need to unplug at the end of the day. I fully accept that others are different though

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fat sam

but to cks starred out?!?!

No buttocks on show please Fat Sam ;) I’ve edited that back in for you now. In the future, if you think our profanity filter has got it wrong, please use our Contact Us form to let us know and we’ll edit the word back in. Thanks.

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wavechange

Meanwhile, back at the topic of this Conversation……

What do we think about the possibility of Facebook expanding by bringing in more celebrities and becoming a big online retailer?

I don’t know if these figures are up to date but the most ‘liked’ person on Facebook is Eminem (41 million) followed by Lady Gaga (39 million). Perhaps Facebook is beginning to do for the musician what Myspace has done in the past.
Fans of these artists can get a lot out of the Facebook pages, including videos and up-to-date tour details and biographies. It can only be a matter of time before a musician uses to put out exclusive content.
Similarly, for work purposes I’ve watched press conferences from Samsung and Sony Ericsson through Facebook when I haven’t been able to attend. Facebook provided a great channel for this information.

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dean

Saw an article in the Sunday Times this weekend saying that Facebook users are declining, the service has “peaked” and more and more people are signing off.

Not just from the usual privacy issues, but family members infiltrating personal space, too much info from so many people, disconnected from usual forms of communication etc etc.

6 milllion from the US signed off last year apparently

Hi Dean, these numbers are referenced in the Convo above. What’s important to point out is that it was only a decline in visitors, not a decline in the amount of users (six million didn’t sign off).

There are also reports that those numbers were in fact bogus: http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-users-2011-6

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dean

:-)

Quality, Sunday Times also had the “One is becoming a NIMBY story” whereby they are trying to make out that the Queen is against high speed rail because she occasionally visits Stoneleigh park, which the new line cuts off the smallest 1 m!! oh no!!

Can we believe anything that is written/published these days? I take everything with a pinch of salt, but it’s now getting to the point whereby it’s more about mud-slinging and besmirching someone’s name in order to ruin their reputations.

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