Facebook fatigue

The latest from TechCrunch on facebook indicates that U.S. users are slowing down on their facebook consumption. I can't say I'm particularly surprised. Ever since they opened their doors to the non-collegiate, facebook has been riding a surge of popularity. That surge was then boosted by the addition of the 3rd-party apps, which have become the bane of my spam-hating existence.

I would be really surprised if facebook's growth was over, but I think it's only to be expected that the rate of growth is starting to slow. Part of it has got to be that long-time users are coming in less frequently. Most of my friends that have been on since '04 barely log in anymore - the fascination with endlessly surfing through your friends' photos eventually loses its hold. Wall posting is great, but it can eventually lose its luster.

Pudge still checks up on facebook with great frequency. When one of her coworkers broke up a gaggle of facebook talk by saying, "Facebook is lame," Pudge responded by saying, "Andrew is old."

My guess is that facebook will have to macro-drivers that will push it forward for years to come. The first is international expansion. While I was in Istanbul, I was amazed to find that the majority of people at the client site were totally engrossed by facebook (one of them friended me within 30 minutes of our first meeting). They'd all heard about it before and were extraordinarily anxious to use it. I'm guessing that this will be largely the case in numerous countries, save for a couple with already well-entrenched players. This seems to be borne out by facebook's global numbers:
The second is aging. Just like video games, I would expect that the median age for facebook users will gradually increase, as more and more of the first-gen users grow older. Some of them will of course stop using the product, and there's no way of saying that facebook won't suddenly implode or completely lose all relevance. But overall, facebook will eventually stop being a tool used solely by the young to document their underage drinking habits and drug-induced fashion choices.




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