Facebook – the favorite social networking website of the world was launched in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg along with his college roommates and fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The website’s membership was originally limited to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It slowly added support for students at various other universities before opening to high school students, and eventually to anyone. The company claims almost 1 billion users today.
Facebook was very successful in phasing out it’s predecessors like Hi5 and Myspace. So the big question that has been hovering around a lot is – is Facebook in for a long innings or will the bubble burst in the coming years?
Facebook approaches their model from a standpoint of longevity; they are strategically planning 5 or 10 years out as we speak. Look at the ‘Like’ button for instance. This is a function of Facebook which has migrated to the rest of the web. Similarly Facebook’s future success depends on product innovation and new services, without which the user population will migrate to other “hives”.
The current fluctuation in the stock price is no indication of future prospects, but for the myopic vision of the short term investors and speculators. In the long term the company has to try and monetize their user data, so that they can realize their true market value. Facebook is currently sitting on a pile of cash and how they put this cash to use is yet to be seen. Will they squander it in empire building projects or will they put it in return enhancing projects is a question that only the future will answer.
Facebook has not only captured the market share but also increased share of mind and heart which makes its members keep coming back. The first question that arises in most people’s mind when they think about Facebook not being around is what happens to the many pictures, conversations and memories that we have on this site? For most, it’s almost impossible to imagine life without a daily dose of Facebook!
We are in a relationship building age of marketing, what Facebook is offering now is in line with societal movements and therefore it is highly unlikely that it will not be around in a few years or something bigger or better will take away this position of monopoly from them. As preferences change, Facebook sticking around will come down to whether or not they can serve the needs of its members. If not, then you can assume Facebook would fall prey.
By: Suruchi & Naimeesha
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