Is Facebook still relevant in ’16?


Jessica Greninger

Editor-in-Chief Matt Barney

Matt Barney

Back in 2013 Facebook offered billions of dollars to buy Snapchat, the social media app that lets users send posts that disappear shortly after being viewed. At the time, many people were shocked when the yet-to-be-profitable upstart refused the whopping 10-digit offer. It was at this time that many people started asking the same question: Is Facebook losing its edge?

Just a few years ago, most of my online social activity revolved around Facebook. I was an active member of several Facebook groups, including one that helped me and others find apartments and sell used items. Another group was wonderful for keeping me updated on the recent goings-on with my favorite football team, the Kansas City Chiefs. And I used Facebook to stay up to date on the latest achievements of my sisters and their children and the many members of my extended family.

But lately, my formerly hyperactive Facebook life has slowed to a crawl. I’ve found that most of my younger relatives have graduated from high school and have deleted their accounts or whittled them down until there is barely any personal information left. As for my own account, I rarely add photographs or post updates about what I’ve been doing. Often, the only interesting thing on the site is the latest article that my friends are reading—and honestly, I can just go directly to whatever site they found that on to read it for myself.

This got me to start thinking, is it just me, or is Facebook fading?

According to the statistics, Facebook is sill unquestionably the largest social network. As of the second quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.71 billion monthly active users around the world. In the third quarter of 2012, the number of active Facebook users had surpassed 1 billion. Active users are those who have logged in to Facebook during the last 30 days. So by the numbers, Facebook is still doing well, but does it feel that way?

The social network has tried to add many new features to try to stay competitive. The company added a live video broadcasting feature which received some good feedback and even added new options for “liking” a post, including the “love,” “haha,” ”angry,” and “sad” icons. Some see this as a way of improving the product, but could it be just a desperate ploy to stay relevant?

Facebook has many new competitors fighting for the average person’s social media time. Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are still very popular and offer different options than Facebook does. We still don’t know what the next big thing is either.

One of Facebook’s main selling points is that it builds closer ties among friends and colleagues. But some who steer clear of the site say it can have the opposite effect of making them feel more, not less, alienated. And the people you are connecting with aren’t offering meaningful interactions. Updates about bad hair days and pictures from dinner provide virtual clutter that most people don’t need in their lives. If I want to see my fifth cousin’s second baby, I’ll call her.

So I’ll ask again, has Facebook lost its edge? Tell us what you think in this week’s poll question.