A new study conducted and released by Princeton University has described social networks as similar to infectious diseases. It pointed out that such sites gain millions of users within just a short span and then tend to abruptly lose their steam until they eventually die off. Researchers assert that it already happened to MySpace.
Now, they say that Facebook could be the next. Research experts from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of the university predict that the social networking site would inevitably undergo rapid decline especially in the coming few years.
Their prediction could be quite shocking to Facebook. The study predicts that the social network would lose up to 80% of its peak users from 2015 to 2017. This forecast was based on such epidemiological models that are also used to analyze the spread of commonly infectious diseases as well as publicly available search data particularly from Google.
The study underlines that disease-like dynamics to adoption of online social networks follows intuitively because most users join such circles just because of the influence of their peers. The researchers noted that ideas are like diseases that are spreading infectiously between people. In the same way, they asserted, it would eventually die out, as outlined by most epidemiological models.
The same study also claims that Facebook has already attained its peak in terms of popularity. Thus, it is now naturally entering its decline period. The researchers cited the downward trend in its search frequency, which started in 2012.
They also think that as more users start to abandon Facebook, ‘recovery’ would start to spread in the same infectious manner. This may mean that more other users would logically begin to jump ship following the leads of their friends who have already left the network.
The case of MySpace
Of course, the study highlighted the case of MySpace. The once popular social networking site reached its peak in 2008 when it had 75.9 million unique visits on a monthly basis, in the US alone. It eventually went to obscurity so that it became totally weak in 2011.
Notably, MySpace was acquired by News Corp during its peak and rapid growth period in 2005 for a whopping $580 million. Just six years later, or in 2011, the Website was sold at a massive loss for just $35 million.
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