Can Facebook ever be toppled? This is a question that began running through my head when I saw that nearly half of the people surveyed in a recent poll believe Facebook will fade away as new platforms come along. It wasn’t long before I began wondering what those new platforms might look like. I’m actually one of those crazy people who aren’t on Facebook, so I could honestly care less if it did fade away, but, with a base of nearly 1 billion users, you’d think Facebook’s share of the social networking market must look pretty attractive to someone out there besides Google… To find out who that someone might be, I began a week-long quest that revealed the various soft spots in Facebook’s considerable underbelly and also led me to connect with 8 very cool, very smart social startups that could help lead the way in a social networking revolution given the right circumstances.
Searching for Facebook’s Achilles’ Heel
Before my quest even began I realized that it was ludicrous to think that Facebook would somehow sink into oblivion anytime soon. I also realized that Facebook doesn’t have to cease to exist in order for other players to survive, or even thrive. But, could a competitor ever thrive enough to steal Facebook’s crown? To answer that question I began exploring whether or not Facebook possessed any sort of Achilles’ heel that could leave it vulnerable to competitors.
It didn’t take much digging to uncover a few contenders right off the bat. I was immediately intrigued when I saw Douglas Rushkoff’s article on whether Facebook could maintain it’s edge after going public and Josh Constine’s summary of potential threats to “the big blue giant” (such as government intervention, smaller screens, and, of course, whoever amounts to being the next Mark Zuckerberg). Next, I stumbled upon an interesting article that asked whether or not Facebook had destroyed the word ‘friend’. It does seem to have lost some value. I also uncovered a piece by Forbes writer Eric Jackson detailing why he thinks Facebook investors should be worried that Mark is “completely missing the boat on the importance of mobile.”
Speaking of Facebook investors, it clearly wasn’t a reassuring gesture when GM mulled pulling the plug on advertising right before the social network’s big IPO (which Warren Buffet did not participate in for whatever it’s worth). Rory Sutherland’s assessment that Twitter will ...