Get Ready for the Facebook Apocalypse
Facebook has enjoyed prime status as the world’s most popular social network for four years running. Imagining a world without it is difficult for millions of people who rely on Facebook as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family, for marketing purposes, or even as a replacement for email. We’ve become a world saturated with Facebook culture. It’s how we demonstrate what we “Like.” Our relationship status, much like our relationship with Facebook, can be incredibly complicated at times. We take for granted the comfort of checking up on others by glancing at our newsfeed throughout the day. We brand ourselves, to a certain extent, by the products and services we like and wear like medals of honor on our Likes Page hoping that friends and other contacts will identify us with those things and magnify our personal cool factor. It seems that Facebook couldn’t possibly disappear. Still, if history is any indication, the end will eventually come. It could be nearer than you think.
Just a few years ago, before Facebook was hatched in Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room as a way to catalogue college students and pick up girls, people were already social networking in other places. Remember MySpace? There was a time when MySpace was almost as ubiquitous to social media as Facebook is now. This fact touches upon another marketing cliché that turns out to be true much of the time: being the first to do something is often less impressive than being the next. MySpace still exists, yes, but how many people do you know who admit to using it? MySpace has transformed itself from the social network it once was to a self proclaimed social entertainment portal. MySpace is lucky to have survived being beaten at its own game by Facebook, thanks to this reinvention.
Since the days of MySpace, and now, Facebook, even more social networks have emerged. Some are truly innovative. Take Pinterest, for example: a little more than two years after its inception, Pinterest is now the third largest social network in the world. Instead of a wall with status updates, Pinterest gained its power from the appeal of images and people’s desire to share them. Pinning pictures to one’s Pinboard, neatly categorized into as many or few subsections as you want, lets you reveal something a little less tangible but no less important about yourself to the world. A picture paints a thousand words, after all, right?
Finally, Google has made its own long anticipated foray into social networking with the Google Plus network. We all know Google owns the world, but no one expects Google+ to really usurp Facebook’s sovereignty over the social media kingdom. We might find ourselves surprised when it, or some other dandy upstart, finally does. Eventually, some other social network will. It’s only a matter of time.
Melonie is a technology blogger who enjoys writing about social media.