For those who still remember the golden years of early Internet communications via instant messaging or Myspace, Facebook truly seemed like a flavor of the month platform with no one anticipating the behemoth that it became. Despite recent scandals, congressional inquiries, rumors of misdeeds, and the dawn of rival social media platforms, Facebook is still holding strong, with a growing database of users. What is the secret? Scholars devoted to studying the development of social media platforms have come across a few reasons to describe the phenomenon, and the following is a brief recap of why Facebook continues to dominate.
It’s generally taken for granted how effective the overall effect of Facebook is. While many are bemoaning what could be the end of Facebook, they are neglecting the reasons for its popularity in the first place. There were a few online sites that were used to connect friends to one another, long before even Friendster or Myspace became popular, those platforms suffered from a number of issues. First off, the combination of technical difficulties and the inability to strengthen one’s online network led to a rupture of trust between users and the websites. People wanted something that didn’t just have a personalized layout, but also made it easier to connect to others.
Furthermore, timing is everything. Facebook came along once the public’s desire to share more of their life online became intertwined with the rising availability of broadband and an increasingly diverse audience. Essentially, Facebook found the right recipe and hit the market at the right time, leading to its growth.
Facebook developers were incredibly smart in understanding that the way to ensure their platform’s continued growth was not to be a closed-off, self-contained space. Rather, every other social media account a user could have, be it Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest – just to name a few – can feed into Facebook. By configuring different accounts onto one main social media platform, one could give the initial post a substantial kick via Facebook to get things moving.
Even though Instagram was able to encroach and make some headway in photo sharing among users, Facebook had pioneered it a few years ago. Taking selfies, liking, commenting, and re-sharing is still the most popular activity. Facebook eventually worked to acquire its competitor, Instagram, to ensure that photo-sharing remained one of its most unique features.
Besides photo sharing, Facebook remains incredibly popular for the very simple fact that it is still perhaps the easiest way for people the world over to communicate with one another. Facebook Messenger allows you to call your loved one without having to pay hefty international fees provided that he or she has an account. Instant messaging became a lot easier with Facebook since you could easily see with whom you were speaking. And again, the photo-sharing element, wherein a friend or relative could put up a pic and get everyone to comment on it simultaneously was incredibly influential and proved to be a key ingredient to Facebook’s long-term success.
Besides the fact that you can connect most other social media platforms to your Facebook account, Facebook gained quite a bit of notoriety for becoming an open space that allowed for both work and play. For example, Angry Birds and Farmville had originally become super popular on the platform, with people whiling away the hours idly playing different games with their online friends and also messaging, commenting on photos, sharing statuses, and so on. This was a fairly smart move by a company determined to play the long game and understood in some fundamental ways how a new generation wanted to communicate.
One other crucial way in which Facebook developers understood human nature was by adding the “like” button. People love posting something and gauging how many likes it has received. Even neuroscientists have devoted quite a bit of research in understanding the hits of dopamine sent to the brain each time someone likes a friend’s post or picture on Facebook. A simple thumbs-up sign ended up signifying far more than we could have previously imagined.
While Facebook has been hit hard in recent years with many allegations of misconduct and political rumors genuinely upsetting the public, it is still the most forward-thinking platform out there. For better or for worse, Facebook will be with us for a very long time, and it doesn’t seem as though it’s world domination will come to an end soon despite what the naysayers would have you believe.
Even though the world of social media is forever expanding with new ideas and applications on the horizon, it seems that Facebook is going to be around for quite a while because of its unique and undeniable presence. Thus, the above mentioned are some reasons why Facebook is dominating the social media world.