There was a time when social media and instant messaging were considered quirky, almost childlike inventions that would fade away over time.
But the world continued to gravitate toward cyber space, seeing the convenience of primitive versions of these technologies. Even back in the days of Myspace and America Online, the humble begins showed big promise.
Flash forward to 2018, and platforms like Facebook have changed the world. While Facebook is by no means the first successful social media site or messaging service in the world, it has reached some pretty impressive levels and showed how these technologies can be used in various ways.
Many people get the bulk of their news from Facebook. It’s used for casual communication between loved ones, it helps businesses promote to their customers, and it has even been used to help areas respond to emergencies.
Despite some controversies about bias in terms of the content they allow as well as how much of a person’s private data is logged and then handed over to other sources, Facebook has seen continued growth over the years.
But the social-media juggernaut may have seen a stop in its usage, especially when compared to similar competitors in the industry. For users age 18 and older, participation in Facebook was down by 0.1 percent year-over-year in September. This came after a 0.9 percent drop in August.
When this is compared to companies like Google and YouTube (they grew 50 percent and 30 percent, respectively), it is easy to see just how much Facebook has slipped.
The slip may only represent a halt in the frequency of use, not the expansion of the user base. The fact that this is considered a drop shows just how successful Facebook is. The signups may still be coming, but people aren’t engaging like they did in the past.
This could be related to controversies concerning the site, or it could also simply point to Facebook’s lack of recent updates to their interface.
Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser said: “While we continue to expect long-term top-line growth – and for Facebook and Google to expand their already dominant share of the digital ad spending – we think risks to companies in the sector which are generally ignored by investors will have an impact on the sector over time, and should be factored into valuations.”
But while the platform may be in a slump, the company itself has plenty in the works. This became apparent when Facebook reveals its new video chat device known as Portal. The hardware interface will compete with the Amazon Echo Show, and will hit the mark for $499 later this year.
Every social media site, chat service, and system used in the digital world is subject to waning in popularity on occasion or even becoming obsolete. It’s easier for competition to arise digitally, meaning Facebook can’t afford to neglect their site too much. Even a company with their popularity could lose market share if a hot new platform arrives.