Facebook is 5! Will it last forever?
This week Facebook turned 5 years old and as the largest social networking site online those five years have seen extreme growth and the creation of a new way of communicating. I've been using Facebook for about 2 years now and still find it an engaging and useful tool for networking, finding those people you haven't spoken to in years and even the odd bit of fun here and there. In the last 12 months it has also become a very interesting method for businesses and organisations to promote themselves and to build communities with little or no financial investment. However I still wonder how much longer the Facebook "buzz" will continue.
Many of my friends, family and colleagues are already finding the constant barrage of messages and invitations a bore and are signing in less and less as the initial attraction wears off. Admittedly I think a lot of this is due to them not always understanding the privacy features and ways in which to cut down the unsolicited information that can swamp users, and the fear of pressing that all encompassing "Ignore All" button that I love so much, but could it also be that like so many internet applications that Facebook doesn't have much staying power?
I think that Facebook still has a lot of undiscovered potential, and like the internet itself, will of course get full of useless information that people will need to pay attention to in order to filter out the bits they really want. As developers are creating new applications that allow more integration of Facebook with all the other social networking sites out there, I think we'll start to find that rather than being the only option people have, it will become one service among many that people will continue to use regularly. It's uncertain where it will turn next in the realm of exciting and ground breaking features, and indeed it's getting to the stage where we need some, but with the right turns, I think Facebook still has a good few years yet.