Facebook’s Success: Fact or Fiction.
Gehl presents a great argument here. He gives his own reasons for quitting but he uses the opinions and thoughts, not evidenced-based as he indicates, of a very few bloggers. His argument is one-sided. He couldn’t produce the numbers that Facebook does to support his argument. His argument is common sense. The average user of the platform Facebook all agree. Gehl isn’t stating anything we didn’t already know. What Gehl is forgetting to mention, or maybe not even realizing is the era in which Facebook lives. This is an important part of the equation and Gehl fails to even recognize it. If Facebook was born during the time of MySpace, and vice a versa, Gehl would be writing about “Why I Left MySpace” or any other Web 1.0 platform at that time.
What we have to remember here is that Facebook is living during a time when the consumer has changed to producer. We are on the verge of Web 3.0 tools. The digital environment is different now than in the era of MySpace or AOL. Facebook is living in a time where we incessantly carry our devices everywhere. We have access to the Internet 24/7. With MySpace and AOL or in my kid’s time, MSN chat, when you went to eat, or go to the bathroom, or go to work, or go to bed, you were cut off. The participant’s access was restricted. No wireless and/or data on cell phones or hand held devices. Once you got up from your desktop, it was over.
I agree with everything Gehl is saying, but he forgets to comment on the fact that we can cook supper and check Facebook. We can be at work and check Facebook. We can wait in the doctor’s office and check Facebook. It’s about the freedom of access not the platform. Facebook has been allowed to take advantage of it’s platform due to the access given to the participants.
We are at a time that platforms have the ability as Gehl states that, “Facebook is simply a part – albeit a powerful part – of a conglomeration of social media sites that largely monopolize their respective spheres; these sites are interlinked in an array of protocols, APIs, user activities, and trade associations” (p. 225). If MySpace, AOL or MSN chat had the same type of ability or platform to interlink with other social media sites, if would still be the social media being criticized.
I agree with everything Gehl saying, but it isn’t a critique that myself and other users already lament. Gehl needs to look deeper into why Facebook is one of the ultimate platforms of today. When the next best platform comes along during the introduction of a better way of access, we will see the new Facebook of tomorrow. What’s in a name or owner? It might as well be MySpace; it’s the technological devices that got us here.
Finally, let’s look at the current financials of Facebook. Facebook Investor Relations (2014), “Facebook Reports First Quarter 2014 Results – Revenue was $2.50 billion, up 72% vs. Q1 2013- Revenue from advertising was $2.27 billion, up 82% vs. Q1 2013. Free cash flow for the first quarter of 2014 was $922 million. Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them” (Quarterly Report, 2014). You go Mark Zukerberg! I will follow and LIKE you.
Sincerely, Facebook Fan (and the first of my friends to admit it)