Most users have a grudging and rocky relationship with Facebook. There’s so much to hate, and only small upsides to using the site. People who manage to leave, or just temporarily deactivate, see the truth: you can get along perfectly fine without it. But it is a social network, and leaving can cut you off from a lot of your friends who haven’t seen the light. Good news from a recent study: Soon, enough people will have given up Facebook that we ALL will.
By modifying the SIR model, a statistical model of a disease’s life cycle, to analyze the rise and fall of Myspace, Princeton Engineers have mapped out the future of Facebook, and it looks a hell of a lot like what happened to its predecessor. Not only because of the inevitable crumbling of all things; the statistical trajectory in terms of who’s talking about Facebook online is a very close match to that of Myspace.
“Applying the irSIR model to Facebook shows a high quality ﬁt for the available search query data over the time period of January 2004 to the last reported data point at the time of writing. Extrapolating the best ﬁt into the future shows that Facebook is expected to undergo rapid decline in the upcoming years, shrinking to 20% of its maximum size by December 2014.”
Through a lot of stats and math that I can’t translate, the study predicts that Facebook will lose 80% of its userbase between 2015 and 2017. Rejoice! Soon, perhaps, mediocre social networking sites will no longer impose themselves upon us. You might say, “But Solomon! This study doesn’t take into account the fact that Facebook has integrated itself into our collective consciousness and nobody need even mention it for it to be there, ever-present, peering over our virtual shoulders! Besides, this study wasn’t peer-reviewed!” Well, I need all the hope I can get that Facebook is on the way out, so don’t kill my vibe.