Facebook is gearing up to lose 80 percent of their audience a new study says — and it’s not anything they are doing that will cost them. No, it’s just the nature of the game, says the study — dryly called, “Epidemiological Modeling of Online Social Networks.”
A couple of eggheads at Princeton have been applying disease models — that is, the life of a virus — to social media in order to measure the overlap. And now, according to the poindexters, Facebook is set to lose 80 percent of its base between 2015 and 2017 as people drop away from the network and aren’t replaced by younger demographics. It seems that new generations aren’t interested in emulating their forebearers, but rather jumping into their own newer “viruses.”
Of course the outliers for this are that statistically we’ve never really seen anything like this before — if you buy that Myspace was a different kind of animal. The study’s proponents don’t though; they use Google Trends to create a mirror between Myspace and Facebook. And that’s pretty much it. With that small of a sample size, we can’t really know anything with certainty about the future of the social media white dwarf that is Facebook — or its potential to supernova. Also, there’s the little matter that these nerds went to Princeton … located in the same state that gave us “Jersey Shore.” Sorry, if you wanted your little “sneeze theory” to be taken seriously, you should have gone to Brown. And as Adweek points out, why is an aerospace school studying social media trends anyway?
Every few years a study comes out portending to “know” the nature of the game, and one after another we’ve seen them fail. Apparently business speculation is a little harder and more mysterious than throwing darts at a board (as evidenced by the strangely accurate nature of conducting your stock portfolio by utilizing that very method).
Fortunately, we don’t have to wait too long to see if this study is worth a damn — as opposed to say, “Back to the Future II” which has made us wait 26 years to see if hoverboards are actually going to be “a thing.”
The real interesting thing is going to be in watching if this study manufactures a self-fulfilling prophecy; will we now leave Facebook because we think we’re supposed to? Or will we stick it out to intentionally thwart scientists’ ability to categorize us? Or will we all forget about this study as soon as the next Janoskians video comes out?
Here’s more science and numbers and theorems applied to social media: