Here’s a bold Facebook prediction.
Facebook will be a journal and an address book. It will be used as a place to store the people you have met in real life, and park the odd memory that you want to look back on one day.
Most people will have a Facebook account, but they will not live there. Facebook is not a place to meet new people, nor is it a place for you to talk about your unique interests that annoy all your friends.
You will live on more specialised networks. For example, I will live on appdotnet, my wife will live on Pinterest, my daughters will live on Tumblr and my cats will live on YouTube. These, and others not birthed yet, are the places where our hearts lie, where we feel free to talk about what we are truly passionate about, and meet new people in this ever flatter world that relate to us and we to them.
You could not count the number of blog posts complaining about the content the author’s “friends” share on Facebook. And it makes sense I suppose. If someone was to attend a LAN party and demand everyone look at her horse riding photo album, there would be “words”.
And so because everyone you know is on Facebook, and they have all added you as a friend, and you don’t care to spend hours managing dozens of lists to filter out who sees which posts, people will drift towards the places where they feel free to share and find it easy to discover content of interest.
Facebook will not go away though. As a journal and way to keep in contact with everyone you care about it is a fine, nay, excellent service. I like to post family photos and messages about interesting things that happened to me but I set the sharing to “ONLY ME”. In that way it serves as a digital shoebox to chuck stuff I may want to look at again one day. And of course, people change their contact details with such frequency that Facebook serves as a wonderful digital post office box, a place where you can always be reached no matter what email provider or phone number you have this week.
It is not a good thing or a bad thing for Facebook to be used in this way, it is what it is.
One doesn’t complain that a hammer is too heavy to use to eat with. We simply recognise that it’s a hammer and serves a different need, a useful tool no doubt, but perhaps not the tool we originally thought it would be.
I expect Facebook is quite aware of this, thus the purchase of Instagram. And I expect similar acquisitions in the future.