Will Facebook Be Smashed By 2015?

In the social networking space, Facebook's closing-in-on-a-billion users might appear to make it unassailable. But is that really the case? Not everyone thinks so.

Picture by Mike Licht

Telstra's director for capability and innovation Michael Ossipoff argued the case against Facebook's continued dominance at the Genesys G-Force conference in Melbourne this week. To quote his words:

Facebook will not be the preeminent social network by 2015. It will be smashed by fragmentation.

Ossipoff's point was not that Facebook will suddenly disappear, or that people will stop using it altogether. It is that just as Facebook took time away from some of the other things we used to do online, and potentially took over some of the functions we used to assign to different sites (such as photo sharing), new options will emerge in the future that will change things again.

Whenever a new social networking option emerges, one of the first hurdles it has to cross is integrating with what has gone before. Google+ isn't much use to many people if it has to be maintained separately. In the same vein, the point at which I started using Twitter more than Facebook was when I realised I could send my Twitter updates directly through to Facebook. Not all my Facebook friends thanked me for that, but it was the way I wanted to use the service. The end result is that I use both, but neither dominates.

As new competitors emerge, of course, Facebook itself changes. Earlier this week, it announced a bunch of privacy-related changes which most observers interpreted as a direct reaction to the emergence of Google+. What I couldn't help noticing was that the reaction to this change of interface amongst my Facebook friends was muted to non-existent. There was a time when even minor changes to the Facebook interface led to massive outcries. These days, people have perhaps learned that complaining doesn't make any difference. But they may also care just that little bit less, because Facebook simply isn't that important anymore. If that process continues, indifference might mount a lot earlier than 2015. What do you think?

Disclosure: Angus Kidman attended G-Force as a guest of Genesys.


Comments

    I surmise there wasn't much outcry for two reasons:
    -This doesn't change the layout or function of facebook dramatically, so a fair chunk of people won't have even noticed yet.
    -This changes things for the better and gives you more control. People are much quicker to complain than to praise.

    Compare it when facebook recently added the sidebar on the right. Even though it'd didn't change much functionality it was an obvious visual jump, and people didn't stop talking about it for weeks.

    Funny thing is that the example in the article actually means you use Facebook more: every Tweet = Facebook usage, plus whatever else you do on FB.

    Just nitpicking, but there is a point here: as services integrate closer together the lines between which one is "used" get blurred. Personally, I prefer all the features and functions of Windows Live Messenger over the alternatives. Mostly: games and integration of my Facebook Chat contacts. Now that MS has bought Skype, I'm hoping that I can also include my Skype contacts in the same aggregated list: using one client to access three separate services.

    I know such service-aggregation is not new (I use Pidgin for AIM and IRC), but the one I prefer is the one that offers the fullest feature-set and best usability.

    Again, what does "use" mean? A question that's getting more complicated as time goes on IMHO.

      imo the one that is getting used is the one where the user is actually visiting. My reasoning for this is because this is the site that is possibly actually going to gather data and add revenue.

        +1 If you push your Twitter updates to Facebook, you aren't "using" Facebook in the way that the company needs. No hits on the page and you won't be exposed to the ads. Eventually you may stop pushing your tweets across altogether.

    Won't matter. We're all going to be deaded in a nucular hollercost anyway.

    I've deleted my facebook account. I have a google + account but dont use it that much. I think social networking is good in its right place but it will settle down in the scheme of things...

    It's quite possible Facebook will go the way of many popular chat programs (ie ICQ, remember that?), but I think Telstra is right with fragmentation. Same thing with touch screen phones, other companies introduced them aeons ago, Apple made them popular, now there are more choices than ever.

    lol. Telstra saying facebook wil go away. Hey, anyone remember when Telstra said their search engine was better then Google's? lol

    There was a layout change?

    One point nobody has made is that it hadn't changed the layout of the i/droid device. I like many other people only use facebook through there phone. We are oblivious to the website and any layout changes hence we don't complain.

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