Ten years ago today, on February 4th, 2004, Facebook first made its debut. The Facebook community has since grown to 1.23 billion active monthly users. It’s grown from ‘Fan Pages’ to Business Pages. It’s gone through several, often disputed, redesigns. It’s algorithm is in constant fluctuation and trys to provide users with the best possible experience. With it’s 10 year anniversary, it’s only natural to ask: Will Facebook see it’s 20th anniversary?
Personally I created my own Facebook page in the summer of 2007. I grew my page from just a few friends to almost 1000 friends and then skimmed it back down to less than 500. I’ve liked and unliked 1000’s of pages. I’ve uploaded, tagged, and deleted 1000’s of pictures. I’ve managed a handful of business pages. I’ve watched my friends get married, get divorced, have babies, change careers, and move all around the world. Facebook just released an opportunity today for you to view your Facebook history in something called “A Look Back” if you cant remember all you’ve done!
So, why do I, along with the other billions of users, keep coming back? What compels users to log in multiple times per day, day after day? How does Facebook survive while others die?
I think the number one reason is that Facebook has figured out how to create an innovative system that offers people a user-friendly experience. Do you remember a few years ago when Facebook kept redesigning the site? Each time users would gripe and complain and argue that the old way is better. But after just a few weeks, the chatter slowed and users generally liked the changes. Now when Facebook makes changes, many are quickly pleased with the results and find it improves their experience.
Another reason I believe many people continue to return to the site is for news and current events. How many times do you catch yourself saying “oh yeah, I saw that on Facebook this morning” when someone asks you about a news story? Facebook has also made changes to its algorithm so higher quality articles appear closer to the top of your news feed when you visit it to encourage users to utilize the site this way.
The final reason I think people use Facebook so consistently is for the connections. How else can you so easily see what your cousin studying abroad in Europe is up to? Seriously though, not only does Facebook provide easy access to your friend’s happenings, it provides visual content, the opportunity for live chat, and so much more.
So there are clearly plenty of reasons for Facebook to exist, but how can they make it last another 10 years? Here are my suggestions:
- Continue to be innovative. Facebook continues to make improvements on a very consistent basis to improve the user’s experience, this one shouldn’t be any issue to them!
- Continue to accommodate mobile users. With mobile use on the rise every single day, it’s important that Facebook keeps this in mind. eMarketer predicts that, by 2017, some 2.5 billion people will have smartphones, versus 1.75 billion today. They’ve been doing a great job with this and have even made improvements this week alone with the release of Facebook Paper.
- Keep it free. Facebook has the ability to make lots of cash off each user through advertising, pay per clicks, and promoted posts. I think to survive they need to keep it free for profiles.
I am pretty sure that Facebook will be around in 2024, but it will need to continue to evolve and create the best user experience possible. Most likely the Facebook we see then will not be anywhere near the Facebook we see now.
What do you think? Will the network still be around after another decade?
Until next time,