How Facebook Can Avoid a Slow, Painful Death

Does Facebook Need To Downsize To Survive?

There’s no doubt that Facebook has completely changed the way that many of us live our lives, yet it has not been without its critics over the years. The masses of information that the social network throws at us on a daily basis have been compared to saturation, so how can Facebook continue to thrive without becoming a bloated shadow of itself? A new report by brain scientist Jeff Stibel on argues that the slimmed down version of the social media site as found on smartphones could save the service from heading the same way as other former web giants such MySpace and Friends Reunited.

A Network of Networks

Stibel argues that Facebook has already taken several measures to restrict the amount of irrelevant and useless information that finds its way onto our feeds, having allowed us to switch off certain notifications and select the types of information that we wish to see. He says that the success of Facebook is partially down to the way that it has become a “network of networks”, allowing us to access vast swathes of linked information in the same place. However, the reams of superfluous information can, he argues, lead to people closing their accounts rather than simply making the necessary changes needed to make Facebook more relevant for the individual.

Discarding What Isn’t Needed

He makes comparisons with the way that the brain shrinks as neurons disappear over time, retaining useful information and discarding mental content that is not needed, arguing that stripped-down versions of Facebook could amount to the same thing. Mobile-based Facebook tends to be restricted to a handful of services:  “posting to a wall, reading news feeds, sending and receiving messages. In other words, communicating with the people most important to you.” Describing the cluttered, browser-based version of being at “network breakpoint”, Stibel argues that in the case of Facebook – less really is more.




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