Last week, Princeton released a paper that charted the viral rise and predicted the future fall of Facebook by comparing it to an illness. The paper states: "We use epidemiological models to explain user adoption and abandonment of [online social networks], where adoption is analogous to infection and abandonment is analogous to recovery." The outcome of this infection called Facebook? That 80% of its users will jump ship by 2017.
Facebook responded with its own tongue-in-cheek retort to the research:
Using the same robust methodology featured in the paper, we attempted to find out more about this "Princeton University" - and you won't believe what we found!
By applying the research methods to the university, they discovered it would be disappearing quite soon. Sorry, New Jersey.
But in all seriousness, blogs and websites -- like humans -- do tend to have a lifespan. Some die young, some live to the ripe old age of seven (that's like 70 in people years), and a freaky few keep going long after their contemporaries have died out. We see the same concept time and time again with businesses -- the vast majority don't survive to be frequented by multiple generations. According to the US Small Business Association,
About half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more. As one would expect, the probability of survival increases with a firm’s age. Survival rates have changed little over time.
Why should blogs or websites that are online businesses be immune from the statistics that follow brick-and-mortar stores? Still, Facebook is a site that has staying power. It isn't a few college kids coding from their dorm rooms anymore. It's a company with 2000 employees and $5 billion in income in 2012. The shoddiness of the Princeton research aside, I cannot see Facebook disappearing even if the site doesn't continue to grow or even remain at its current value.
But forget about Facebook for a moment.
What about our personal blogs?
Image: Tom Small via Flickr
While they may not rake in $5 billion in income or have 1.2 billion monthly users like Facebook, our personal blogs hold enormous value to the writer and the reader. Without readers, few bloggers have the wherewithal to keep writing regularly, and without blogs to read, readers become bored and moan that Feedly is empty. Just as Facebook needs its users to keep generating content and would go belly-up if 80% of its users actually disappeared, personal bloggers need their readers to keep interacting with them in the comment section and sharing their posts. When site statistics drop or comments stop being left, bloggers lose confidence.
So if the idea of Facebook (or replace Facebook with your favourite social media site) dying out sends you scurrying to your phone to check for updates, think about how much greyer your life would become if your favourite blog died out?
What are you waiting for? Go visit your favourite blog. Read their top post and leave a comment. And then come back here and share a link to your favourite blog (and yes, you can also list your own so we can love on it). Don't let a blog die!
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