Eric Jackson from Forbes Tech recently wrote an article reaffirming his claim that Facebook is on track to disappear in four years. I recommend reading it because Jackson makes a number of interesting arguments for Facebook's demise, one being that Facebook is likely to lose its "cool factor" and will find it difficult to spend its way back to coolness. Whether or not you agree with Jackson, be sure to pay attention to the tail end of the article where Jackson quotes Tumblr founder David Karp. In the interview with Charlie Rose Jackson cites, Karp talks about the future of the internet, content, and social networks and says:
"if there’s something there that you care about, you can keep going whether or not your friends keep going there."
And there it is, there is the factor that is most likely to do Facebook in - Facebook is becoming less and less concerned with connecting you with something you care about and more about connecting you with more things (ads, promoted likes, etc.) that earn it revenue.
Sadly, almost every morning when I wake up I do three things on my phone: check the weather, read news on Twitter and explore Facebook. The weather app delivers what I care about, which is accurate weather information that will help me plan my attire for my morning bicycle commute. Twitter delivers relevant news every time. Facebook, however, delivers the Facebook "News Feed" which, unfortunately, contains status updates and photos from the "friends" I care about least. If fact, it appears that Facebook prioritizes content delivery depending on whichever of my "friends" is most annoying that morning.
This is Facebook's biggest problem. Other than being a really good 21st century web phonebook containing a lifetime of friends and acquaintances, on a personal level, it never really delivers the content I care about. Instead, it is like a bad parent pandering to the screaming and kicking complaints of obnoxious children, i.e., its attention-starved users. Although there are the occasional posts from well-managed company or organization Facebook pages that get through, rarely is there anything useful in my "News Feed."
For example, I do not care if someone I knew in the 6th grade likes a protein supplement, Amazon, Zappos or Game of Thrones. Or that someone I knew in high school thinks a newborn baby photo of his nephew is an accurate enough self-representation for a profile picture. Or that you are eating cereal this morning.
Here I am checking Facebook every morning and not caring. I rarely post anything and will, only occasionally, "Like" or comment on a post. However, maybe I am the kind of user Facebook should be thinking about the most and, as a result, maybe Facebook should be thinking a little bit harder about how it categorizes, filters and delivers content.
There will always be needy individuals that will saturate Facebook with meaningless content and click Facebook's ads. But what about the rest of us looking for, to paraphrase Karp, "something there that . . . [we] care about?" Those, I believe, are the people that will determine Facebook's fate over the next four years.