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There is a general consensus that Facebook is failing. Granted, as a solidly invested stock holder, I’m praying for this not to be true. While Facebook’s demise would leave me in a state of financial ruin, I’m not worried about its effect on my social networking. Remember MySpace? I do. When that toppled to the ground, Facebook rose from the ashes.
Sitting and debating whether or not Facebook will fail is irrelevant, because the skills that people have learned from Facebook will long outlive any social media channel. I’m talking about valuable skills like driving traffic. The ability to drive traffic is going to be important in all walks of life. Whether it is driving traffic to your sales page or charitable cause, traffic is important in getting a message across.
Social networks have become incestuous. Verified accounts exist across multiple platforms, almost everyone uses hashtags, and words like “follow, favorite, and share” are ubiquitous no matter what site you’re on.
This means that social media managers are improving their skills that can be converted into various fields and platforms every day. For example, being able to listen and gauge your audience to know what they are going to like and what will engage them is useful no matter what account you run. This can help in sales, public relations, and even human resources. Social media marketing is as much a skill as writing or using Google Docs.
So what would happen in Facebook failed? There would be a ton of smaller social media outlets that take its place. Users who have multiple social media accounts would simply switch to the other networks full time.
Instagram has already taken a portion of Facebook’s potential user base, as people have started to post Instagram photos much more frequently than Facebook photos. Plus, Instagram is more appealing to younger demographics because it doesn’t require the user to be 13 or older. Although Instagram is linked to Facebook on many devices, unlinking these would be easy. Plus, users would just share to Twitter or Tumblr instead.
“But Facebook owns Instagram,” you might say, “Wouldn’t both ships sink?” Not necessarily. Myspace is technically still around, even though its traffic has been in the toilet for years.
The biggest resurgence that I think would come out of Facebook dying is that of AOL instant messenger. Facebook IMing pretty much killed AOL’s AIM when it rolled out a handful of years ago. Facebook basically accumulated all of the social media before it and consumed it like the blob. The next big social media craze will do the same thing if Facebook falls.
All in all, Facebook has done something that every social media manager and economist should be grateful for. It has created jobs that before didn’t exist and weren’t even on the minds of even the most forward thinking people in the 90’s. It has also given employers a better way of knowing what they are getting into when they hire somebody. Facebook will be missed if it falls and I thank it for being a great time waster through my college years.
Editor’s note: Facebook’s stock went up $7.50 during the day that this was written. This is why Tommy Wyher seemed like he was in a good mood because he is deeply invested in this. After they release their first quarter numbers, he will be somewhere rolling in all the money that Facebook will make him.