Software // Social
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1/23/2014
12:15 PM
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Facebook To Lose 80% Of Users By 2017

Princeton University study says four out of five Facebook users will move on to other social networks.

Online social networks spread like disease epidemics, and Facebook will lose 80% of its victims -- I mean, users -- by 2017, according to a study from Princeton University researchers.

The study, "Epidemiological modeling of online social network dynamics" by John Cannarella and Joshua A. Spechler, makes a couple of interesting assumptions. First is the premise that epidemiology models can be applied to social networks.

The application of disease-like dynamics to [Online Social Network] adoption follows intuitively, since users typically join OSNs because their friends have already joined. The precedent for applying epidemiological models to non-disease applications has previously been set by research focused on modeling the spread of less-tangible applications such as ideas. Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models. Again, this follows intuitively, as ideas are spread through communicative contact between different people who share ideas with each other. Idea manifesters ultimately lose interest with the idea and no longer manifest the idea, which can be thought of as the gain of "immunity" to the idea.

The researchers used Google Trends search data to measure the popularity of Facebook over time. Again, this idea has precedence; the popularity of Google searches correlates with the spread of other trends.

Read the rest of this story on Internet Evolution.

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Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
1/23/2014 | 1:34:00 PM
Re: To what?
I agree, there's nothing really comparable to Facebook that people could jump to. I don't see Google+ being a factor. Perhaps having a Facebook-type social media profile will fall out of fashion and people will delete FB accounts with no replacement. After all, we have Instagram; we have LinkedIn; we have SnapChat; we have text messaging. Maybe phone calls will make a comeback. I basically use Facebook as a news feed now. As this story indicates, its relevance as a way to connect with people is fading.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2014 | 1:30:02 PM
Re: To what?
Agreed. But author accomplished purpose of getting people like me and you to read it. :-)

I just mentioned SnapChat as example of how quickly things emerge today, you are absolutely correct it is not same service as Facebook. But that could change also, you never know.

The interesting thing in article was the conclusion it matches models typically used for predicting disease spread. I don't have the statistical chops to comment on that one. But that drove their prediction of 2017 and 80%.
eleveneleven
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eleveneleven,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 1:19:56 PM
Re: To what?
SnapChat isn't a replacement, it's a suppliment. Just like Instagram (though Facebook owns them now).

 

It will be interesting to see if some new challenger shows up with an actual viable replacement, but I'm not sure how you can set a date and a number with absolutely no one currently showing the potential to steal FB users.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2014 | 1:02:04 PM
Re: To what?
I'm sure that's what MySpace said about the young whipper-snapper Facebook at one time. I'm sure you are correct the market won't go to Google, probably someone not even on radar yet. Look at emergence of SnapChat out of nowhere.

But 80% does seem kind of high by 2017. The younger kids may be that fickle but Facebook has penetrated pretty well into the Boomer generation. I don't see my wife and her friends of that age jumping around that much.
eleveneleven
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eleveneleven,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 12:56:19 PM
To what?
Google+ definitely won't steal 80%
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