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Social Media Report - Facebook's 10th Birthday

Will Facebook be able to survive?

The 4th February marks a very momentous occasion in the social media world: the 10th birthday of Facebook. The anniversary has caused many to reflect on the successes of the famous social network, which started out in 2004 at Harvard University. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, initially created the network as a tool for students of his college. It has since become one of the most lucrative forces on the internet. The milestone birthday has caused some to voice concerns about the future of the company. Will it survive another ten years? Zuckerberg appears confident with various strategies planned for the next decade, but analysts indicate that Facebook may be overtaken by other online networks. What does this mean for its 1.2 billion users, and more importantly, what does the future hold for Facebook in the business world?


If you look at the Facebook stats over the last 10 years, it's clear to see that the network isn't quite in the danger zone just yet. They have gone from 1 million users in 2004, to more than 1.2 billion monthly users in 2014. They now have over 6,000 employees, which is a tad different to the five founders who worked on the network in 2004. They even reported revenues of close to £1.5 billion last week. So they're not doing too badly. So what's making analysts theorise doomsday for the social network?

Firstly, it goes without saying that Facebook may be getting a tad 'uncool'. Recent statistics show that 55+ is the fastest growing age demographic on the network at the moment. Add that to the fact that 3.3 million American youngsters aged 13-17 have left Facebook since 2011, and you start to understand why it may be uncool. Daniel Miller of University College London gave us the reason why; "parents have worked out how to use the site and see it as a way for the family to remain connected. In response, the young are moving onto cooler things".

As much as current trends stay with the younger generation, the growing mature audience on Facebook is not necessarily the worst thing. Put it this way, the older demographic also means that Facebook can grow without their teenage and tweenage users. According to eMarketer, Facebook is the second-largest recipient of digital advertising spending, particularly with their mobile adverts. Coupled with the over 700 million users that visit the network per day, and that's a lot of people to interact with on a daily basis. Within their 10-year plan, they are looking to hone in on the way they deliver adverts on their news feeds, making them more personalised and targeted towards each user, in order to increase their average revenue. In a business context, this could be a gold-mine of opportunity and could mean a wider audience for social media marketing.

 Facebook's 10th birthday
http://blog.netinfluence.com

Facebook is just one of those things that people are used to. You could even go as far to say that we take it for granted. We complain about each new feature or interface that gets introduced, then forget about the old version pretty much straight after. Interestingly enough, what really boosted the network, the 'Newsfeed', is exactly what Facebook is trying to move away from now. In the beginning, users of Facebook didn't often utilise privacy settings, or worry about the content they were posting to their pages. The whole concept of 'oversharing' was to dawn on us as the social media world has bloomed, and various platforms have come into fruition. As social media has grown, we too have learnt to be more careful with what content we post online, and think about what message or idea we want to put across in our virtual world.

The original Facebook encouraged identity across the web, putting preference to those with profile pictures in their search rankings and requiring email addresses for verification. Facebook is beginning to recognise the need to move away from 'oversharing' in order to draw in their users again. Within their future strategy, they will follow Whisper, allowing users to sign into some of their apps anonymously. Essentially, they want to generate new experiences on the Facebook platform, that won't make people think of Facebook immediately.

They aim to produce more standalone apps, which will present Facebook in alternative formats, rather than the uniform app that they had before. Given the networks strong mobile user demographic, it is a smart move if they want to lure in some of the younger generation. Following the success of Instagram, a photo-sharing network that Instagram bought in 2012 for $1 billion dollars, they are looking to help users compartmentalise their content sharing for different groups of people. This way they can target various apps towards each of their age groups; for example, the new Paper (iPhone only) for the mature user that enjoys reading the news, and the trendy touch-based design which may rope in the younger user.

 Facebook's 10th birthday
splashmedia.com

The biggest step forward for Zuckerberg, however, is the one thing that might save him from losing all of his virtual-world-domination. Within the next decade, he aims to have progressed much further with his plan to provide internet for the two-thirds of the world who are not connected. "I think that's going to really mean a quite different world in terms of what folks in a lot of developing countries have access to... around basic financial services, and people can get credit to start businesses and buy homes - really life-changing stuff - or get access to health information or education materials, which I think are just a really big deal", he said. It may be that as the rest of the world gradually gets access to the internet, Facebook can expand across into this sphere. With this in mind, it's clear to see why many are keen to stay loyal to Facebook. With their continuous rebranding, and Zuckerberg's ambitious plans to move into the developing virtual world, there is still a lot of scope when it comes to Facebook and the business world. 

Charlotte Callaghan

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Social Media Report - Facebook's 10th Birthday Reviewed by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 04, 2014 Rating: 5
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