With flu season in full swing, it’s only fitting that researchers have extended epidemiological models of the disease outbreak to the tech world. And if you’re one of the 1.3 billion individuals addicted to Facebook, you better get your tissues ready.
Claiming that social networks are similar to infectious diseases, a recent study from Princeton University posits that Facebook will lose 80 percent of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017. Specifically, the study states that Facebook has already reached the peak of its popularity, and it has now entered into a decline phase (remember, just a few months ago, Facebook admitted to losing its hold over the teen segment). Note: popularity is measured according to search engine queries.
According to the study, “Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological model… Idea manifesters ultimately lose interest with the idea and no longer manifest the idea, which can be thought of as the gain of “immunity” to the idea.”
Of course, much of the study’s argument is built on the case study of MySpace’s decline in popularity. And while MySpace may certainly be considered a relative of Facebook, I’m not entirely convinced that the two are twins. With continuous innovations in mobile and cross-platform integration, Facebook has rooted itself deeply in its users’ lives.
So, should we mourn the death of Facebook? No, not yet.