Why I quit Facebook and why Facebook will fail

Facebook is fundamentally flawed.

The Facebook business model is fundamentally flawed and it will shrink to relative insignificance over time – unless it can jump the curve in some amazing feat of strategic brilliance. (Happy to offer my services, but they are unlikely to ask.)

I know this may seem unthinkable now, but remember that once there was AOL, and then Alta Vista and then Yahoo and MySpace – and none of those are quite what they once were.

Reason #1:

When the mug-punters start departing and take their eye-balls with them, then the businesses will follow pretty soon.

I quit Facebook a few weeks ago. I did not actually deactivate my account, because having the account offers some benefits (such as universal login, and of course access to business pages - including client pages); but I haven’t visited in about a month. I will assess these benefits in due course, but deactivation is quite likely.

I don’t miss it all.

My stream became a river of crap: promoted posts, stupid eCards and ‘like-this-if-you-love-your-daughter’ updates, and finally the straw that broke the camel’s back was the post to ‘share-this-if-you-want-to-be-blessed-in-three-days’ exhortation. There is only so much I can take. (Maybe I should make different friends.)

I am not the first and I won’t be the last. I think Facebook may have jumped the shark.

Are YOU spending more or less time on your personal Facebook today than you did six months ago?

Reason #2:

In essence Facebook is a ‘walled garden’. Many will remember the early days of AOL in the US. The strategy is to provide the ‘user’ everything they need so that they never have to leave. AOL did that by having members-only access to key content. The web 2.0 iteration is to be less obvious and go for being ‘sticky’ rather than forcing the user the stay loyal.

A walled garden is not compatible with the ethos of the internet. As it becomes more intrusive the social benefit of friend-connections will be progressively be diluted.

When it was conceived, it wasn’t as some commercial behemoth – we all know the story. Now it is so big it even it even warrants us labelling its activities as F-Commerce.

Some may remember a previous post about language and culture. The same applies here. The early talk was all about social and friends and connecting and liking people. If you read Facebook press now, the talk is about metrics, and value and commerce because that is what gets measured when you list the company. And that is what will change it from what it was.

Sooner or later people will figure out that Facebook is not a platform that you can use for free; but that YOU are the platform that Facebook uses for free.