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Is Facebook a Fad?

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Facebook is taking the world by storm.

In terms of unique users and time-spent on the site, it will likely soon be the largest web site on the planet.

What's more, the company's new "self-serve ads" (see demo below) are off to a terrific start and could end up being the massive revenue engine the company has long been looking for--the "AdWords" for social networking.

So, for the time being, it's all good.

When I wrote the other day about how Facebook now accounts for 1 in 4 online pageviews, though, many readers repeated a refrain we've heard a lot lately: I used Facebook heavily for a while, but then I got bored:

I think Facebook will fade. I already find many of my friends not logging on that often. Indeed, of those freinds that are on FB that frequently they are very much of a lower socio economic class. Honestly.. they are just playing Mob Wars....It's fun to update a status every now and then, but I think it will become the next Linked IN...

I am of the view that people will become less engaged with FB over time. That's my experience and my friends experience and they are all PhD's, MBAs or JDs so I can't tell you about the rest of the demographics...

I went from checking Facebook several times a day to once a day to once a week to, well..., it's been a few weeks. I have interesting friends, but it turns our that reading about their day standing in line at Starbucks or promoting their latest indie film just isn't all that exciting. In the first few months it was fun to catch up with a lot of old friends, but you quickly discover why you let many of these relationship slip away in the first place.

In the history of the Internet, there have been an alarming number of sites that caught people's attention for a while, but then eventually lost their allure. Is Facebook one of them?

It's certainly worth asking.

If current trends continue, most of us will end up spending most of our waking lives interacting with Facebook one way or another (wait until the mobile engine really gets cranking). If Facebook is like some other Internet boom stories, however, it's just a fad that will fade away as quickly as it came. (MySpace, for example, appears to be this generation's Lycos).

I don't have a confident answer to this one. I suspect that Facebook is here to stay, if only because the stuff people do on Facebook is the stuff people do all day anyway. Facebook just makes it a hell of a lot easier. And the company seems hell-bent on maintaining its focus on the quality of the product.

Also, there isn't a single activity on the planet that captivates EVERYONE, so I'm not surprised to hear anecdotal stories that some folks are bored.

And you? Do you think Facebook will soon become the online glue that holds us all together now and forever? Or is it another MySpace in waiting?

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