Is Facebook On The Way Out?

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facebookembedPhoto: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
There's generally a lot of alarmism and exaggeration in the world of tech start-ups, so when you hear that Facebook or some equally monumental company is doomed to imminent demise, it's good to help yourself to a grain or two of salt. However, a host of recent articles make a good point. The social network has had a record year both in terms of engagement among users and in visits driven to websites that post articles on a regular basis. And, yet, what goes up must come down. Right?

As Fast Company points out, most companies in the industry follow four stages to form a bell curve. If the product is good, the cycle begins with growth, growth, and then some more growth. Somewhere at the top of the bell, start-up culture makes way for a more bureaucratic setup, and hence, some of the luster that originally drew in users starts to fade. Then it's back down again, to make room for the next iteration. Facebook has certainly experienced the first few stages. While the growth this year has been substantial, the company itself has also become increasingly massive and bureaucratic. It's only natural.

Of course, there are still quite a few people on the site. That probably won't change dramatically anytime soon. However, the important thing to note is that while Facebook may have a solid user base, teenagers don't make up much of that base anymore, preferring platforms like Vine or Snapchat. That means the future is uncertain, and in terms of growing its network, there isn't much further to go. Unless, of course, they were wiling to truly go after people in less connected areas of the world — something which, though often part of slogans and statements, doesn't seem to be a priority for Zuckerberg and friends.

This isn't the first time Facebook's mysterious and shaky strategy has been in the news of late. Recently, changes in the holy newsfeed algorithm made waves and led to a lot of awkward questions about the company's intentions regarding paid promotion of content. But, the fact that this discussion even exists in the first place is indicative of what is arguably Facebook's biggest problem: What was once a place to talk to your friends, post party photos, and share the occasional interesting link has now become a free-for-all RSS feed in which way too many people and posts are competing for a limited attention span. (Fast Co Labs)