Is Facebook doomed?

Ahh, the patina is shedding off of Facebook.

Looks like the trend I noticed when I was in London talking with Maryam’s niece in December has hit home for Facebook. Is usage down?

My own usage is certainly down. Here’s why:

First, Facebook depresses me. I can’t add new friends, so the “game, er, fun” of Facebook has gone away for me (yes, building my social network was fun for me). Now, I know most of you don’t have that problem, but it does create a retardant effect on the fun of Facebook. It can NOT be a “utility” like a rolodex until it gets rid of all limitations.

But this morning I got a call from someone in France. He was kicked out of Facebook for sending too many messages to his friends. He said he was just chatting with his friends, not doing anything spammy (he only had a handful of friends, he told me). This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this kind of story, I get dozens of such emails every month from people who’ve gotten kicked off the service for not doing too much other than participating in Facebook the way they want.

Anyway, Facebook kicked him off (turned off his account, like they did to me) and now there is no way for him to get added back on. He’s emailed an explanation of what he’s been doing to Facebook. They haven’t answered back. There is no recourse. It’s made more difficult because this guy doesn’t speak English well.

As much as I like Mark Zuckerberg, I can not recommend Facebook to anyone until they fix this problem. There’s ABSOLUTELY NO WAY someone’s account should be deleted without recourse, if Facebook wants to be seen as a utility.

Facebook needs to fix these two problems before I’ll recommend it again to anyone.

One other thing? I’m getting spamish messages on Facebook now because I added hundreds of groups. I’m going to unsubscribe from most of them to keep that from happening. I already have too many attention thieves in my life.

But, to the question of “is Facebook doomed?”

No, it’s not. It still is the best designed, and best performing, social network out there. It fits my idea of what a rolodex, er, address book, should look like. I love the iPhone app. The way it all works. I love seeing photos and videos from my friends.

I just wish Facebook would fix these two problems so I can go back to hyping it up.

What do you think about Facebook? Has the patina worn off for you?

122 thoughts on “Is Facebook doomed?

  1. Robert,

    For me this network is definately out. For many reasons the most important one is that friends that I regularly meet with are not on it and do not see themselves on it either. Furhtermore it seems like companies are looking at these networks as an excuse not to hire you or give you insurance or any such thing that they deem inappropriate.

    Facebook for me is out of the picture and I am happy to say my life is better for it. Too many time wasters and not enough sites that help get what I want when I want it.

    Just my two cents of course

    Thanks,

    Richard

  2. Robert,

    For me this network is definately out. For many reasons the most important one is that friends that I regularly meet with are not on it and do not see themselves on it either. Furhtermore it seems like companies are looking at these networks as an excuse not to hire you or give you insurance or any such thing that they deem inappropriate.

    Facebook for me is out of the picture and I am happy to say my life is better for it. Too many time wasters and not enough sites that help get what I want when I want it.

    Just my two cents of course

    Thanks,

    Richard

  3. @42. Yea, but that usually happens over a span of years, not months. This seems to be the proverbial “irrational exuberance”

  4. @42. Yea, but that usually happens over a span of years, not months. This seems to be the proverbial “irrational exuberance”

  5. I’ve written a desktop app that lets users receive and send Facebook messages from a regular email client (www.fblocalmail.com); handling messages in this way would also let users leverage whatever tools they have for spam filtering and information management. I’m yet to include notifications (I’m developing it in my spare time), but support will be there eventually.

  6. I’ve written a desktop app that lets users receive and send Facebook messages from a regular email client (www.fblocalmail.com); handling messages in this way would also let users leverage whatever tools they have for spam filtering and information management. I’m yet to include notifications (I’m developing it in my spare time), but support will be there eventually.

  7. Robert,
    I don’t think facebook is doomed at all. At it’s core facebook is a communication platform. Applications allows new and different forms of communication.

    Facebook is the most efficient and effective and egaing social network that i have ever used.

    I agree with you… they seriously need to remove the limitations. They also need to be careful about how people are kicked off and the course for reinstatement.

  8. Robert,
    I don’t think facebook is doomed at all. At it’s core facebook is a communication platform. Applications allows new and different forms of communication.

    Facebook is the most efficient and effective and egaing social network that i have ever used.

    I agree with you… they seriously need to remove the limitations. They also need to be careful about how people are kicked off and the course for reinstatement.

  9. When I read how Zuckerberg went to breakfast with a dictator (and took you along) I lost any pleasure in Facebook:

    Mark Zuckerberg, founder/CEO of Facebook, which now has 68 million active users (people who’ve signed on in the past 30 days).

    He invited me to a breakfast with Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf. We walked together to the breakfast, which was interesting because of Musharraf’s comments, where he defended his administration.

  10. When I read how Zuckerberg went to breakfast with a dictator (and took you along) I lost any pleasure in Facebook:

    Mark Zuckerberg, founder/CEO of Facebook, which now has 68 million active users (people who’ve signed on in the past 30 days).

    He invited me to a breakfast with Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf. We walked together to the breakfast, which was interesting because of Musharraf’s comments, where he defended his administration.

  11. Scoble – totally with you here. Not only are the messages from groups getting super-spammy, the zillion invites from applications are a headache: NO I don’t want a Zombie Kiss or a Rubber Duckie gift…thanks anyways.

    Preach on!

  12. Scoble – totally with you here. Not only are the messages from groups getting super-spammy, the zillion invites from applications are a headache: NO I don’t want a Zombie Kiss or a Rubber Duckie gift…thanks anyways.

    Preach on!

  13. In the beginning I , used Facebook! I made a few comments on Blogs after a while, that Facebook has no order and therefore how could one advertise and aim for a specific market ! I was of course told I was wrong ! Then I posted that Facebook was an expensive experiment and might be the next Edsel , without executives who under stood marketing ! I still feel it is an experiment that has proved money does not always cover up mistakes in judgement, cause as we, know Scobie you can’t buy judgement ! I am 71 years old had a lot of belly to belly marketing experience and have a few scars ! I hate to see anyone fail that had a shot at it, but the facebook shot has missed the target ! I am sure Mark is a good person but he needs advice from marketing pro,s not geeks ! Why do I read Scobie? Cause there is effective generic content here !
    Facebook must realize that content is king not site full of screwy one time apps!

  14. In the beginning I , used Facebook! I made a few comments on Blogs after a while, that Facebook has no order and therefore how could one advertise and aim for a specific market ! I was of course told I was wrong ! Then I posted that Facebook was an expensive experiment and might be the next Edsel , without executives who under stood marketing ! I still feel it is an experiment that has proved money does not always cover up mistakes in judgement, cause as we, know Scobie you can’t buy judgement ! I am 71 years old had a lot of belly to belly marketing experience and have a few scars ! I hate to see anyone fail that had a shot at it, but the facebook shot has missed the target ! I am sure Mark is a good person but he needs advice from marketing pro,s not geeks ! Why do I read Scobie? Cause there is effective generic content here !
    Facebook must realize that content is king not site full of screwy one time apps!

  15. Im mildy enjoying facebook robert, having read all your posts and seen what happened to you Im not enjoying the FB experience .

    I got totally miffed when all my so called friends spam me with app invites ,, zombie , vampire all the crap

    Ive for this USerscript that blocks all them annoying apps . Its the best thing since slide bread

    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/12393

    Facebook needs to become more user friendly .
    People need to know that there data wont be held hostage . Deleting an account should occur in minutes and not days .

    jp

  16. Im mildy enjoying facebook robert, having read all your posts and seen what happened to you Im not enjoying the FB experience .

    I got totally miffed when all my so called friends spam me with app invites ,, zombie , vampire all the crap

    Ive for this USerscript that blocks all them annoying apps . Its the best thing since slide bread

    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/12393

    Facebook needs to become more user friendly .
    People need to know that there data wont be held hostage . Deleting an account should occur in minutes and not days .

    jp

  17. Robert

    we probably had a chance for Facebook to expand beyond 5000 friends, but after you scraped it, I doubt they’re going to want to do that again, in fear of this being a rolodex scraper.

  18. Robert

    we probably had a chance for Facebook to expand beyond 5000 friends, but after you scraped it, I doubt they’re going to want to do that again, in fear of this being a rolodex scraper.

  19. I think Facebook is good for keeping up with old friends, but if falls apart beyond that. They won’t let you change your name and adding any semblance of privacy to your account is way too difficult. Meeting new people on Facebook is hard because unless you are part of their social sphere or have an app, you really can’t get a hold of them. I am also not comfortable allowing strangers access to what I am up to. And I don’t think it is the best site. I think it is overhyped now and the new Myspace.

  20. I think Facebook is good for keeping up with old friends, but if falls apart beyond that. They won’t let you change your name and adding any semblance of privacy to your account is way too difficult. Meeting new people on Facebook is hard because unless you are part of their social sphere or have an app, you really can’t get a hold of them. I am also not comfortable allowing strangers access to what I am up to. And I don’t think it is the best site. I think it is overhyped now and the new Myspace.

  21. Patrick, You’re spot-on. Application spam is horrendous. Designed for high school and college kids — not adults balalancing work, family, outside interests. Seems facebook is trying to be all things to all people. Will be interesting to see what happens with the 60+ million member number.

  22. Patrick, You’re spot-on. Application spam is horrendous. Designed for high school and college kids — not adults balalancing work, family, outside interests. Seems facebook is trying to be all things to all people. Will be interesting to see what happens with the 60+ million member number.

  23. Nice post, my own Facebook usage is down too, although I’m not sure if its because I’m more introverted these days or if its due to FB itself.

    A few of my friends have also been kicked off because of sending too many messages, that’s really strange thing for a social network to do, and I just like everyone else am highly irritated by the spam from Applications and Group messages.

    At the end of the day its still the best way for me to meet new people, so I’m hanging around some more.

  24. Nice post, my own Facebook usage is down too, although I’m not sure if its because I’m more introverted these days or if its due to FB itself.

    A few of my friends have also been kicked off because of sending too many messages, that’s really strange thing for a social network to do, and I just like everyone else am highly irritated by the spam from Applications and Group messages.

    At the end of the day its still the best way for me to meet new people, so I’m hanging around some more.

  25. Reasons I deactivated:
    1. Application spam.
    2. Experian (irritating UK company who were all over everything every time I went on – way too intrusive).
    3. Aimlessness.
    4. As pointed out above, lack of access via work (at lunchtimes, of course) means that fun and utility aspect is fatally impaired.
    5. I have email, a blog, scrabble software for web use, and Flickr, all, of course, elsewhere – not sure much else needed web-social wise.

  26. I got tired of facebook over two years ago. with the exception of a couple of people everyone who was my friend was someone I spoke to on a daily basis in person.

    It seemed useless to me but I found it very odd that no matter how hard I tried, Facebook wouldn’t let me delete my account. Anyone else have this problem?

    And seeing how I still have an account on there, I check it maybe every 6 weeks or so out of curiosity and man, all those useless applications they added over the years just doesn’t do anything for me.

  27. I got tired of facebook over two years ago. with the exception of a couple of people everyone who was my friend was someone I spoke to on a daily basis in person.

    It seemed useless to me but I found it very odd that no matter how hard I tried, Facebook wouldn’t let me delete my account. Anyone else have this problem?

    And seeing how I still have an account on there, I check it maybe every 6 weeks or so out of curiosity and man, all those useless applications they added over the years just doesn’t do anything for me.

  28. Reasons I deactivated:
    1. Application spam.
    2. Experian (irritating UK company who were all over everything every time I went on – way too intrusive).
    3. Aimlessness.
    4. As pointed out above, lack of access via work (at lunchtimes, of course) means that fun and utility aspect is fatally impaired.
    5. I have email, a blog, scrabble software for web use, and Flickr, all, of course, elsewhere – not sure much else needed web-social wise.

  29. I keep my Facebook account because it helps some old friends find me. They could just type my name into Google and send me an email, but seriously, there must be people who don’t even think to do that.

  30. I keep my Facebook account because it helps some old friends find me. They could just type my name into Google and send me an email, but seriously, there must be people who don’t even think to do that.

  31. Facebook usage in the UK doesn’t surprise me with the limited anecdotal evidence from my own life. Part of the problem is many private business, in additional to NHS trusts, across the country have started blocking access to the site. This stop casual browsing and stops feeding the positive feedback loop social by which networking sites live and die.

    Internationally, the larger problem is “friend saturation”–the paradoxical phenomenon where social networking site usage decreases as the number of potential new addable friends decreases for individual users. Facebook partially mitigated this effect with profile specific mini-feeds and the news-feed but the signal-to-noise ratio with applications and spammy information has made them nearly useless. Introducing controls to show/hide options on the news feed and limiting application spamming is too little too late.

    Ultimately users need something to do on a social networking site once they are allowed access. Finding friends and consensual stalking are the bread-and-butter of sites like Facebook. The only way Facebook will continue to be relevant beyond 2008 is if they implement:

    1. A simple but robust privacy system so people don’t fear mixing work and personal friends in their lists.

    2. A robust private messaging system rivaling established webmail systems out there with open IMAP/POP3 access.

    3. Splitting the mini-feed such that user actions are separated from application notifications. The same should be done for the main news feed.

    4. Forcing application developers to stop forcing invites.

    5. Allowing higher-resolution photo uploads.

    6. Tighter integration with mobile phones and text messaging a la iPhone/Blackberry/J2ME phone applications. This could be helped by possibly forging alliances with mobile phone vendors.

    7. Integration of web feeds from other Web 2.0 sites much like Plaxo Pulse.

    The point is to make sure Facebook has usefulness to people beyond the “friend saturation” phase.

  32. Facebook usage in the UK doesn’t surprise me with the limited anecdotal evidence from my own life. Part of the problem is many private business, in additional to NHS trusts, across the country have started blocking access to the site. This stop casual browsing and stops feeding the positive feedback loop social by which networking sites live and die.

    Internationally, the larger problem is “friend saturation”–the paradoxical phenomenon where social networking site usage decreases as the number of potential new addable friends decreases for individual users. Facebook partially mitigated this effect with profile specific mini-feeds and the news-feed but the signal-to-noise ratio with applications and spammy information has made them nearly useless. Introducing controls to show/hide options on the news feed and limiting application spamming is too little too late.

    Ultimately users need something to do on a social networking site once they are allowed access. Finding friends and consensual stalking are the bread-and-butter of sites like Facebook. The only way Facebook will continue to be relevant beyond 2008 is if they implement:

    1. A simple but robust privacy system so people don’t fear mixing work and personal friends in their lists.

    2. A robust private messaging system rivaling established webmail systems out there with open IMAP/POP3 access.

    3. Splitting the mini-feed such that user actions are separated from application notifications. The same should be done for the main news feed.

    4. Forcing application developers to stop forcing invites.

    5. Allowing higher-resolution photo uploads.

    6. Tighter integration with mobile phones and text messaging a la iPhone/Blackberry/J2ME phone applications. This could be helped by possibly forging alliances with mobile phone vendors.

    7. Integration of web feeds from other Web 2.0 sites much like Plaxo Pulse.

    The point is to make sure Facebook has usefulness to people beyond the “friend saturation” phase.

  33. Ryan: you’re crazy if you think the second issue doesn’t affect everyone. The fear you’re gonna get kicked off keeps a TON of people from using Facebook and the technical limitations (5,000 friends, give me a break) also keep it from being a true utility.

  34. Ryan: you’re crazy if you think the second issue doesn’t affect everyone. The fear you’re gonna get kicked off keeps a TON of people from using Facebook and the technical limitations (5,000 friends, give me a break) also keep it from being a true utility.

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