Is Facebook reaching the end of the line?

So I was reading on The Register earlier about some research paper that has predicted that Facebook is reaching the end of the line, and by 2017 it will have lost 80% of its user base.  This news has come out not long after reports of our younger generation also quitting the social network site, citing it as a site for us older people.

I’m sure Mr Zuckerberg has stashed enough money to feed himself and the next ten generations of his family, so whether he cares that his lifes work may come to an end, I’m not sure.  I don’t know if I would be, unless I had coined some sentimental value to it all. But I’m sure if he wound up his company or sold it on, he could live out the rest of his days in luxury on a nice island somewhere.

Facebook has been an awesome ride though. It became the news site for people you know, or used to know.  You could catch up and see what people you haven’t seen for years are up to.  But like everything, that novelty starts to wear thin.  As we get older, instead of being fascinated about what people are posting, we actually find their posts annoying and boring.  Then we come to a realisation of “Do I really care what James whom I haven’t seen for 15 years had for lunch yesterday?”  No….  And I’ve just wasted time in my life reading that particular update.

I believe the problem isn’t so much Facebook. Its just that people are crap at using Facebook.   I have some friends who post nothing at all, and it just seems a waste of time them even having an account.   Then I have friends who are posting everything.  They post so much about themselves, that when I actually see them, there is nothing to talk about because I already know everything.  Then there are friends that constantly post crap – and they just become annoying.

So here’s the list:

1.  You’re having / have a baby. Congratulations, Your baby is 1 out of approx 107,602,707,791 to have to have lived on this planet.  361,481 babies are born every single day. You are not significant. I don’t need daily updates from some shit app about how far along you are. Or daily updates about how much the baby is kicking.   Just send me a message when baby is born so I know all is well.  We also don’t care about your babies sleeping, eating, puking and shitting habbits, and definitely don’t need updating on it on a daily or hourly basis.

2. Like and Share competitions.   Stop fucking spamming your friends!  Its bad enough getting it from stranger in my email. Not from trusted people I’m supposed to know. You’re not going to win the competition when its from “Apple Products Ltd” and they have 20,000 brand new iphones that cant be sold because the box has a slight tear on it.  You just look like an idiot for believing this stuff.  And like spammers, I will add you to junk senders list.

3. Ambiguous status updates, aka Vaguebooking. “pissed off”  “oh no :(” .  Do you switch the news on and see the news and see “Today’s headlines: President Obama is Upset.  New York is Celebrating and Michael Schumachers doctors have released a statement.  And that’s it for todays news, next news in an hour.”  NO!!! You don’t! So stop it!  If you truely want your friends to know your news, then tell them. Don’t be vague about it.  Its irritating to everyone.

4. Constant updates about the TV show you’re watching.  Your entire friends list is not watching the same TV show you are currently watching, and your entire friends list may not even be remotely interested in the TV show you are currently watching.  We don’t need constant updates. “OMG I can’t believe she didnt get through!” WHAT??? Who cares? I don’t, I’m not watching it. Take it to twitter, take it to a group of fans who are watching that show. X Factor is the worst.

5. Mundane updates.  If you take a photo of Spaghetti Bolognaise that you just made, because its a step up from Microwave meals, you can bet your bottom dollar that 99% of your friends list couldn’t give a shit.  Nor do we give a shit if you’ve been to the gym, or if you woke up at 7.30 this morning.   We also don’t need daily messages telling us how bored you are.  If you’re bored, your friends are certainly bored of reading about how bored you are.

If you’re guilty of the above, you can rest in the knowledge that your updates don’t appear on my news feed, and probably don’t appear on many other of your friends either.  You’re actually systematically killing Facebook. Because your friends are finding Facebook more boring to read and not logging on very much. In the end, you’re just talking to yourself – because you’ve bored everyone to death.

We’ve all been guilty of it.  My Facebook time line history is cringe worthy as well, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got my fair share of people who have unfollowed me in the past.

The problem with Facebook is that it only supports positive re-enforcement.  There is no “dislike” button, and facebook doesnt notify you if someone has unfollowed you, or unfriended you.  Why? Because it doesn’t want people getting upset with the site.  You can be posting pictures of your baby eating lunch every day and will not realise that most of the people are sick of seeing it.  That is unless they comment on it. But people won’t want to do that, because they don’t want to upset you, and its your facebook account, you can publish what you like. Instead they’ll quietly remove you from their newsfeed.

Perhaps facebook should apply the “Seen by” which is applied to Pages.  Which shows you how far your post spread is going.  But then that’ll never happen, because when you realise that only 30 of your 200 friends are actually seeing what you write, then you’ll give up posting at all, and facebook requires us to post in order to work.

The only solution is, is for people to get wiser in posting more quality updates about ourselves so that our friends will find it interesting to read.  I think Facebook should encourage this.  People don’t realise that they’re boring everyone to death on Facebook because they’re so tangled up in their own excitement about what is going on. After all, having a baby is exciting for you.  Its probably exciting to your close friends, but its not particularly exciting for distant friends especially on a daily basis.

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