So now that social media is an entrenched Big Deal, taking up gobs of bandwidth on the Series of Tubes, you’re starting to see story after story in papers of news and even the Glowing Tube, which still lives.
One hot story keeps popping up, like an invincible monster in a bad horror movie, and that story can be summed up in four words: FACEBOOK IS GONNA DIE.
These stories all point to numbers and extrapolate from there. Teenagers are abandoning the Facebook ship! Now that half the world is on Facebook, growth has stalled!
I’m not saying those stories are wrong. But here’s the thing: Facebook will die. It is not the immortal, invincible juggernaut people think it is.
Because nothing on the internet stays on top forever. And in the end, angry rocks from space will doom us all.
Want to lose money? Bet your paycheck on predicting what we’ll be using for social media five years from now.
Want to make money? Bet the title of your car that something new will supplant whatever is dominant today.
Facebook will go the way of MySpace–it’s inevitable.
Twitter may fade away, or get smoked by some hot new thing now being created in the dorm room of some 18-year-old at Indiana State University.
Sure, the piles of money Facebook has could keep it on life support forever. Zuckerberg might use those billions to buy other hot new things on the Series of Tubes, or transform Facebook in radical ways.
Yet even if Facebook buys all the other companies in the world, and we all wind up working for Facebook for the next 20,000 years, eventually, rocks from space will blow everything up.
But we won’t have to wait for that. Facebook will fade and die, because we humans are fickle. There isn’t some magical switch that can freeze the quirky intersection of pop culture, technology and fashion.
Fashions come in waves. If short hair is dominant, that automatically makes long hair the hip, rebellious thing to do.
If Facebook is dominant, the cool kids automatically flee to something new and small and subversive until it gets too popular.
The same thing happens with music and movies. True hipster run away once their favorite band gets too popular. Hard-core movie fans are into obscure French black-and-white existentialism and 1960s samurai flicks for the simple reason that they are obscure and unpopular.
The younger the demographic, the quicker they shift allegiances.
Boy bands are a great lesson. No matter how big and unstoppable the media considered N Sync or the Backstreet Boys, they got tossed aside for the next hot new thing. It has always been so and it will always be so.
Because fashion and pop culture work that way. By becoming popular, you guarantee that the hipsters and cool kids will therefore consider you uncool and unpopular, causing your downfall and the rise of some obscure unknown shebang.
So yeah, Facebook will die.
And yeah, something fresh and new and completely obscure will get embraced by the hipsters and cool kids.
Just don’t believe anybody who says they know exactly what replaces it, or when it’ll happen.
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Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.