Wednesday, January 31, 2018 by David Williams
It’s quite clear that there will always be room for social media in people’s lives. What’s not clear is whether or not the current crop of social media sites will be around much longer. Andrew Keen, a British-American author and entrepreneur, has called out the biggest one of all: Facebook. In an interview with Recode.net, Keen likened the world’s largest social media site to the worst story of a sunken ship of all time. And there may be absolutely no hope for it at all.
Facebook is truly popular, and not just in its native U.S. It’s the most widely-known social networking website in the entire world. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the most loved. In fact, there are many reasons why people seem to dislike it and have called for a stop to its use and existence over the years. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided to implement many feature additions — and feature removals — on the site to make it more appealing to both users as well as advertisers, but all of it may still not be enough to make lasting change.
According to Keen, Mark Zuckerberg’s latest moves to make Facebook a better social networking site is nothing more than a futile effort. “I think Mark Zuckerberg has been rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic with these latest reforms at Facebook, he said. “I’d like to see him really acknowledge the problem and deal with it directly and come up with radical solutions.” One of the recent changes that the Facebook CEO has implemented is improving the News Feed experience for most users. Still, Keen says that it is simply not going to be enough.
In Keen’s view, the business model that Facebook rode all the way to seemingly endless prosperity is not likely going to be a viable one very soon. In fact, it may just cause more problems for them than they can solve. “I think we’re at a similar time in the digital economy,” explained Keen. “Consumers will and are coming around to the realization that this business model is not in their interest. What we need are entrepreneurs to come up with new ideas, trying to pioneer new business models that aren’t predicated on ‘We’ll give you our stuff for free, you give us your data and we’ll know more and more about you.'” In other words, it may be time for Facebook to look for other ways to maximize the engagement of users on its site in order to stay relevant in the coming years. (Related: Facebook is stalking you: Creepy new patent demonstrates the lengths they go to “connect people” – such as studying photos to compare smudge marks that would indicate they were taken by the same lens.)
Keen has authored a new book titled, “How to Fix the Future,” and in it, he talks about fixing the problems that were inadvertently caused by tech. His solutions to present-day problems are mostly inspired by things that have happened in the past, so in a sense, he is speaking from experience. He likens the current Silicon Valley landscape to that of Detroit in the ’70s. According to the Recode interview, this was when consumers woke up to realize that they don’t really like what they’re being sold every day, and that soon, incumbents could find themselves in a bad place.
Is there hope yet for Facebook? Perhaps, or perhaps not. Whatever happens, the number of “likes” garnered by the site daily can’t go on increasing forever.