If you’re below the age of 25, then you’ve seen some signs of Facebook dying over the last few years.
Personally, very few of my friends make status updates anymore. I see the odd major news announcement or photo upload, but beyond that, people don’t really feel the need to keep their entire social network up-to-date on their personal lives.
Princeton researchers decided to take a closer look at the phenomenon to determine where Facebook would be headed over the next few years – and their research presents some bad news for Facebook.
You can read the entire Princeton report here: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.4208v1.pdf
In the report’s abstract, researchers write that:
“The last decade has seen the rise of immense online social networks (OSNs) such as MySpace and Facebook. In this paper we use epidemiological models to explain user adoption and abandonment of OSNs.”
To measure the rise and decline of social networks, researchers did something surprising: they used disease spread models. These disease spread models were applied to MySpace and modified to represent that social network’s rise and fall. Then, researchers applied that modified model to Facebook to predict where that social network was going.
The report provides an interesting look at some behind-the-scenes framework of what makes social networks popular. But most people are interested in the conclusion, which is worded in a very ominous tone and states:
“Extrapolating the best fit model into the future suggests that Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80% of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.”
Yikes! That’s hundreds of millions of people logging off Facebook ever.
Of course, this drop-off in users will only occur if the model proves accurate. And if the internet has taught us anything, it’s that the things that become popular on the internet are anything but predictable.
Like who on Earth would have predicted that this thing would become popular?
Once again, you can read the entire Princeton report – which isn’t too long – here: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.4208v1.pdf