Despite the fact that Facebook’s IPO will likely value the company at more than $100 billion this week (about the same as the GDP of Vietnam), Facebook is no longer the Prom Queen.
Just like Fonzie, hula hoops, Cabbage Patch kids, and Coldplay, Facebook isn’t cool anymore.
It’s too damn big as it nears one billion users. Beside, it’s difficult to maintain your mojo when your fastest growing demographic is grandmothers.
Believe it or not, but the cool kids don’t like hanging out and sharing content while their Aunt Bertha is looking over their shoulders and leaving comments like “I can’t believe your wore that blouse to school!”
As one 25-year-old woman told the Boston Herald this week:
“For some reason that social Facebook excitement has run its course for me. The friend circle is sort of not as limited to Facebook as it used to be.”
But, to be fair, cool is no longer on Facebook’s agenda. Being uncool is a price it’s willing to pay (even with the likely defection of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people).
That’s because Facebook is going for the gold. It wants to be two things now: a mainstream media company and the preferred online communications platform. Preferably both at the same time.
That’s going to be extremely difficult, especially once the company goes public and shareholders demand returns and growth. Growth might be the hardest part as there are nearly one billion users around the world already – nearly one out of every two internet users. Can a company with this many users actually continue its rapid growth?
In fact, as pressure from shareholders mount, it’s likely Facebook will shrink – at least at first. Already many people are upset by the onset of changes that seem to have more to do with monetizing the platform than in helping users communicate. That drive to monetize will get more intense and get many people upset.
So the next year or two will be crucial for Facebook. Either it succeeds in becoming the user-interface of the Internet or it becomes another in a long line of failed social networks (O, we hardly knew thee, Ping and MySpace!).
So here’s a few questions for you. Will Facebook be around in 10 years? Is the IPO is good thing or a bad thing for Facebook? And are you still using it as much as you used to?
Facebook Falling Out of Favor as IPO Approaches (via Boston Herald)