Facebook, a once popular social media site, is currently on its way downhill as time moves on. I think we all can agree that we either have a Facebook account or have used the social networking website in the past. I know I did and, for a while, it was the only thing I was interested in. However, you don’t hear one say “friend me on Facebook” anymore. Instead, it’s more like, “I’ll add you on Snapchat,” or, “I’ll follow you on Instagram.”
My mom finally let me get a Facebook account when I was 12 after countless times of begging. I was so excited. I would spend hours at a time on Facebook. I would get so excited when I logged in and saw a red number in the top right corner on the globe icon. Facebook defined my middle school years, as it allowed me to keep in contact with my friends. I also played a lot of games on Facebook, such as “Empires and Allies” and “Dragon City.” All of my friends played them too, so there was no reason for me to stop using Facebook. I’m not going to lie: there was probably a point in the summer of 2012 where I was on Facebook an average of four hours a day. You can imagine how that made my mom feel. (Yes, I got grounded for a while and thought my life was over.)
When Facebook took the world by storm in February 2004, not a lot of people knew about it. However, in 2005, it took off with a 2,150 percent growth rate. From there until 2011, Facebook appreciated steady and high growth rates, generating tons of revenue. Their downfall officially began around 2012, when they experienced their lowest growth rate ever. It has gone slightly up since then, but not by much.
I think the main contributor to the decline of Facebook is the creation of other social media sites. Instagram came out in late 2010, but didn’t really experience many users until about 2012. From there, Instagram grew from 80 million users to 800 million in September 2017. Talk about a growth spurt. Another huge social media application is Snapchat, which came out in 2011. The app experienced 166 million daily active users as of May 2017. Notice how these upstart social media sites released right around the time Facebook started to decline. Coincidence? I think not.
Twitter is an exception to the Facebook decline. Although Twitter may have slightly contributed to the decline of Facebook, it’s hard for me to completely believe that given it came out only two years after Facebook. Like Facebook, Twitter experienced rapid growth, but took a little longer to get recognized. Twitter was released in 2006 and started to appear on the mainstream radar a few years later. The company saw an average of 50 million tweets a day in 2010 grow to 400 million daily tweets as of September 2013. (Which is the exact month and year when I created my account.) However, Twitter experienced little growth in 2015, and has stayed pretty neutral up to this day. Because Twitter was around during Facebook’s heyday, you can’t really blame Twitter for the decline of Facebook.
Facebook has attempted to keep up with these new, attractive social media sites. Shortly after Instagram introduced “stories,” Facebook did the same thing. Both of them got the idea from Snapchat. Stories offer an additional way for people to see what their friends are doing rather than just stalking their Facebook page. I feel like the addition of stories added some potential for Facebook, but because they got them after Snapchat and Instagram, it may be all for naught.
It seems the intended audience for Facebook has changed completely since it first came out. When it first came out, lots of young college-aged people were using it. You rarely saw an elderly person with a Facebook account, as it wasn’t part of their “generation.” Now, you can often find older people on Facebook. It looks like they are attempting to keep up with the trends. Now they just need to discover Instagram and Snapchat. By the time that happens, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a new social media site that all the young kids flocked to.
It’s kind of disappointing to see a once widely talked about social media site experience a downfall. I guess that’s just the evolution of social media: some decline, others soar. Oh well. They say all dynasties must come to an end. It seems as if we are all witnessing one die down as we speak.