I’ve been hearing more and more people (of my own age admittedly) suggest that they are getting tired of using Facbook – that the applications are getting less interesting and more invasive, that they can’t keep up, and ultimately are getting a bit bored with it all. Piaras suggests that there is an inevitability about this given the meteoric growth in Facebook over the past while. He goes on to suggest that business should be taking a more mature look at the possibilities of social networking to bring business benefits within the workplace.
I wonder are we beginning to see the end of the Facebook hype, only to be replaced with another technology hype. I saw my first real iPhone the other day and was very impressed. In fact everyone in the room ooh and aawed at it like star-struck teenagers. With O2 just launching in the Irish market then perhaps this is the next thing that will ignite our passions (and in this instance our wallets – I work it out as a minimum spend of €939 in the first year!).
Another way to think about this is that Facebook continuance will depend on it’s ability to emerge from what is now the “trough of disillusionment”, the third phase of the Technology Hype Cycle. We saw Facebook’s first phase “technology trigger” breakthrough last year when they opened up their source code and allowed others outside of US college campuses to access it. We in Ireland certainly went through the phase two “peak of inflated expectations” during 2007 as we saw the frenzy of Irish grown-ups get their own profile page and send unrelenting amounts of invites, notifications and pokes to their newly-rediscovered friends.
I think its fair to say that Facebook is now becoming a less fashionable and more of us are just a little “disillusioned”. The real test for Facebook is to see if it can clamber back up along the “slope of enlightenment” by delivering some sustainable and practical benefits to what will probably be a levelled off user-base. If the technology can mature through this phase then it might reach the “plateau of productivity” as these benefits become widely demonstrated and accepted.
Time will tell. I’m off to see can I get a cheap iPhone on eBay (preferably one that someone else has unlocked…)