Given how much Facebook seems to love using data, maybe it’s about time someone gave it a taste of its own medicine and used some data on it. Two Princeton researchers (in the aerospace and mechanical engineering department, for whatever that’s worth) applied an epidemiological model to the rise (“infection”) and fall (“infectious recovery”) of MySpace, then extrapolated to determine when Facebook’s collapse would occur if it followed a similar line of best fit.
The conclusion seems to be that only 2 out of 10 of you will be logging into Kudzubook as of 2017. The rise and fall of social networks like Friendster and MySpace used to be merely lulzworthy, but Facebook has a share or two outstanding on the open market, or so we hear.
I read the paper in full as I’m a big data nerd, and it applies a lot of math to Google Trends data, something I am also notorious for doing. Trends come and go, and if we were talking just about the core Facebook product losing all its oxen when it attempted to ford a river, I’d be highly inclined to agree with that as many people I know have abandoned it. If you’re betting on the stock, though, you’re betting on management’s ability to develop or acquire something more interesting, innovative, engaging, or nefarious enough to continue to capture eyeball share, personal data and revenue. So take the study with a grain, or pile, of salt not unlike what a banker from Boston probably had in the back of his wagon when he set off on the Oregon Trail.
CNBC commentary on the story:
(No position in FB other than a user account that exists mostly to post pictures of my dog, and occasionally, food.)