One study, covered by the Wall Street Journal, claimed that 83% of Internet users have created Facebook profiles.
Another study, conducted by Princeton University and covered by Time, claimed that Facebook will lose 80% of it’s peak user base between 2015 and 2017.
Yeesh — Is the glass 83% full or 80% empty?
The divergent looks on Facebook’s global dominance begs a simple question be asked: Is Facebook too big to fail?
In November 2013, I wrote that Facebook doesn’t have a so-called “teen problem.” Yet. Teenagers are finding their connectivity needs elsewhere. Instagram, Snapchat, etc., are the culprits. But Facebook was designed for college students…so let’s revisit those adoption percentages in a few years.
Facebook is the first social network that cracked the code – gaining widespread adoption at all age levels (13+). Friendster didn’t do it. MySpace became laughable. And even Twitter, while still the clear #2, is pretty far behind #1.
So, as the #1 social network in the world, with a billion users and counting, how could they ever fall victim to the Princeton prediction?
By standing pat. Which is something they’ve never done.
Much to the chagrin of users, marketers, and businesses, Facebook constantly tinkers with their platform.
Be it Edgerank algorithms, profiles vs. timelines, graph search, ads, sponsored posts, groups, the news ticker, or any of the other endless changes they’ve instituted, Facebook has never been afraid to come up with a big idea and test it…and then adopt it globally, if it works how they want it to.
Of course, their status as a publicly-traded company does muddy the waters, as they are beholden to shareholders above users (but, truth be told, those shareholders are likely users themselves). And looking at the stock price, long-term growth seems to be the trend, even if this week of mixed news has investors a bit uneasy.
The Bottom Line: While the comparison is interesting, social networking is not a disease. Facebook has a clear pattern of fighting to be the most relevant social network on the planet. Look for that trend to continue. Facebook won’t fail because they won’t let themselves fail.