Just what is Facebook’s “best before” date?

At SMX London earlier this year there was a social media panel on the final day taking lots of questions. One question was along the lines of “which social network will we be discussing this time next year – apart from Facebook, obviously”. The 64 thousand dollar question? Or the 500 million user question?

The answers were quite interesting, all were cautious, and there was no “Facebook, obviously”. It seems like Facebook has been around for ever, but it was only launched in 2004 and for many, Facebook is integral to their life – and they are heavy users. In January 2010 Facebook had a UK adult population reach of 51%, and the average person visited twice a day – for almost 30 minutes a time.

But even Facebook’s ubiquity and air of permanence was not enough to convince any of the panel that Facebook’s existence – in the medium to long term – was a guaranteed certainty. Indeed, when you look at the state of MySpace, which was THE social network just a couple of years ago, you see their point. And AOL’s $850 million investment Bebo was just sold for a “fraction” of its cost (estimates put the sale at around $10m-20m).

Don’t get me wrong – you most probably do need a Facebook presence, even more so now that some audiences think that Facebook IS the internet (so heavy is their usage), but you should check the “best before” date before making long term investments in any social media platform.

  • Ubiquity is a dangerous place to live … there is always a cooler venue somewhere down the road

  • M Butcher

    A great case of (eye) framing the problem

  • Roy McAloney

    See, proof you don’t need to be a Rocket Scientist to get the brief right.
    Just a plain old Physicist will do.
    Good on yer Joshua!

  • Kevin Gordon

    Vision Expressed.

  • Jayne Marar

    Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them,
    disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

    Steve Jobs

    US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 – 2011)

  • Roy McAloney

    Are the Google ads at the bottom of the page, in a bit of bad taste?

  • Dave Trott

    Roy,
    I think that’s the problem with letting a machine do the thinking for you.
    They set it up to trawl the net and put those ads anywhere the words ‘eyesight’ or ‘spectacles’ are mentioned, and the machine (system) just does what it’s told.
    And sometimes that’s going to end up as bad taste.
    That’s advertising by autopilot.

  • Kevin Gordon

    Advertising without a brain at the helm.

  • Grilla Login

    The www is still in its infancy – that’s why it goes ga-ga-goo-google…

  • Roy McAloney

    Just goes to show, even the best ads in the world can be worthless, or even damaging to the brand if your media isn’t right. 
    Although saying that, the Google ads are still pants!