Sherlock Holmes and the Curious Case of the Bursting Facebook Bubble

It may have escaped your notice but the bubble has burst. We’re falling out of love with Facebook. It’s all over. 100,000 of us in the UK have ‘deactivated’ accounts. 700,000,000 still use it but it’s clearly all over now.

The media has been awash with it. Whoopin’ and Hollerin’ the mainstream print and broadcast media have been sounding the death knell. Last night on TV two newspaper reviewers triumphantly declared the bubble burst. They admitted that they don’t use Facebook, or have accounts…but they knew it was over, that it couldn’t last.

The headlines were there – ‘Are we falling out of love with Facebook’ and ‘How to de-activate your Facebook account’. Everyone has a theory, everyone knows why. It’s the trivia, the embarrassing photos, the privacy…IT’S BECAUSE EVEN YOUR MOTHER IS ON IT                !

Except…we’ve heard it all before.

Look at this…

This wasn’t today or yesterday’s news. This was an article from 22nd FEBRUARY 2008! The bubble had burst then! It burst after 200,000,000 members, never mind 700,000,000! And the journalist who wrote that article also knew the reasons. It’s the trivia, the embarrassing photos, the privacy…IT WAS BECAUSE EVEN YOUR MOTHER IS ON IT! She added another one…apparently we were turning away from it because we didn’t like the politics of the founder.

I checked the newspaper’s online archive and the article was no longer there. Every other one from 22nd February 2008 seemed to be…but not that one.

I’m sure there will be more theories. Ignore the fact that the next generation to enter the workforce, and the media, barely know any other way to communicate…it’s over. You choose the reason.

What do I think?

I think Sherlock Holmes had it right…not once but twice

It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgement.’

‘It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.’

What do you think?


9 thoughts on “Sherlock Holmes and the Curious Case of the Bursting Facebook Bubble

  1. Well, walk around the workplace. How many people have Facebook wither open or on a tab, or the app on their tablets, or alerts sent directly to their smartphones… it’s a genius product and lesson in engagement. Sure, four years ago (when you had to be, like me, a student at a particular university to participate) we were glued to it, but you don’t need that kind of obsession to maintain success.

  2. Mervyn

    But it only has 700,000,000 members. surely it can’t be successful until it has over 10% of the ENTIRE planet’s population….oh, wait….


  3. Great post Mervyn! I often feel that the papers only write about Facebook and Twitter because it’ll get attention. I don’t think that Facebook is anywhere near it’s end just yet. And as user’s needs change, Facebook are pretty quick to change also to meet their needs. I think that we’ll keep seeing Facebook evolving in the future and so it won’t allow itself to become irrelevant.

  4. Facebook, regardless of numbers, is still a case of horses for courses to me. Do I want to ‘like’ a bottle of Pepsi or a box of cornflakes? No. Do I want to know that someone who I don’t even know but have added as a friend got drunk last night and today is going to wash their hair and maybe watch a movie? No. Do I want to be hassled by companies asking me to like their products so that I can win a years free supply of dog food? No. Do I want unsolicited approaches from other sundry organisations who used some kind of analytics and got my user profile in amongst the results as someone who may be interested in buying stuff from them? No. And do I expect to have the job of my dreams offered to me on a plate whilst I am on Facebook, no?

    In short, as a place to chat to your friends and family, post silly pictures and keep random strangers up to date with a life they never had any real interest in before, Facebook is great. But, over and above that it’s first and foremost just a place for the minutiae of people’s lives to be shared amongst their friends and supposed friends. That’s why it was set up as a dating site for college students.

    You want groceries, go to the grocery store. You want a car, the garage is the place for you. You want a job? How about registering with a niche job board or a media owned career portal and a couple of carefully selected recruiters? You can even set up your own email alerts to save you having to trawl through dull cut & pasted job after dull cut & pasted job. Facebook? I give it 3-5 more years tops before something new and shiny comes along and brainwashes the next online generation. Fair play to Zuckenberg though. He’s managed to con the world into believing that something that’s full of huge portions of irrelevant nonsense that’s of no interest to anyone outside the user’s immediate circle of acquaintances, and not even a cast iron guarantee in terms of long term monetising (many major advertisers have tried it and already decided Facebook isn’t worth the investment) is worth $104bn – a sizeable chunk of the UK’s debt. Makes me wonder what kind of messed up, taken leave of our senses, world we live in sometimes.

  5. One more data point to consider – and it is about the total social networking thing… my 19 year old son just removed all his social media connections from his phone. His reason – all the posts were stupid and he just was overwhelmed with the banality of it. Yeah – a 19 year old is tired of social media… the sky is falling fer realz

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