Betteridge’s law of headlines states that “any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” So perhaps I should have rephrased the title of this post.
However, I did find this post by Gina Bianchini interesting about what people are using instead of Facebook:
The three most obvious alternatives people are turning to are:
- Private Messaging Platforms. We’re already seeing people move conversations with their family and close friends to iMessage, Houseparty, Marco Polo, Telegram, Discord, and Signal for their most important relationships or interests.
- Vertical Social Networks and Subscription Content. Watch as time spent on The Athletic, NextDoor, Houzz, and other verticals goes up in the next year. People want to connect to content that matters to them, and the services that focus on a specific subject area will win their domain.
- Highly Curated, Professional-Led Podcasts, Email Newsletters, Events, and Membership Communities. The professionalization of creators and influencers will continue unabated. Emboldened by the fact that their followers are now willing to follow them to new places (and increasingly even pay for access), these emerging brands will look to own their engagement and relationships, not rent them from Facebook.
As ever, people will say that Facebook will never go away because the majority of people use it. But, as Bianchini points out, innovation happens at the edges, among the early adopters. Many of those have already moved on:
Growth halts on the edges, not the core. Facebook’s prominence is eroding as the sources of creativity and goodwill that gave it magic, substance, and cultural relevance are quietly moving on. The reality is that Facebook stopped giving creators a return on their time a long time ago.
Big brands will be the last to leave. Unlike creators and Group admins, big brands will stick with Facebook for as long as possible. Despite CPMs jumping 171% in one year, big brands have institutionalized Facebook ad buying and posting not only with budgets but with dedicated teams. They’re too invested to acknowledge the writing on the wall, despite objectively diminishing returns.
This all comes from a renewed interest in ‘quality’ time. I was particularly interested in the way Seth Godin recently talked about how the digital divide is being flipped. Bianchini concludes:
As more people become conscious of how we spend our time online, we will choose differently. We will seek to feel good about what we’re contributing and what we’re getting out of our time invested. There will emerge new safe, positive places governed not by algorithms and monolithic companies, but curated by real people who have a passion for inspiring and uplifting other human beings.
It’s really interesting to see this change happening. As she says, it’s not ‘inevitable’, but cultural differences and personal values are as important in the digital world as in the physical.
Also, as we should always remember, Facebook the company owns WhatsApp and Instagram, so they’ll be find whatever. They’ve hedged their bets as any monopoly player would do.