I first wrote about Facebook on Oct 2, 2006 in my blog post “Facebook.com – a small take” and it has been about 9 years since, at that time Facebook was a small time player in the Indian social networking scene with about 2000 people covering the whole of India Network (yes!).

It was also a time when Orkut was starting to shine in the Indian landscape and Facebook was not known to many. But 9 years is a long time in technology space and a lot has changed since, Orkut shut down in 2014, other social networking sites like Twitter and Google+ came by, but the one site which still has a lot of people logging day in and day out has been Facebook.

To get a feel of Facebook’s reach within my friend circle (this circle has no connection with Google+ ;)) which shows over 500+ of them, I decided to do a simple experiment of doing a post on Facebook asking all my friends to like the post. The expectation was to get around 150 likes which is approx 30% of the friends. So how did it go, read on to find out.

On Oct 1st 2015, I started out by writing and posting the below: Post made in Facebook

As soon as the post went up, the likes and comments started flowing in and by the end of the 1st hour of posting I had 19 likes on the post and drastically increasing to 93 at the end of day 1. With that kind of spike you would expect to hit 200 pretty soon. But this is where the Facebook usage patterns come into picture. Almost all the people who use and actually post content or like content do it regularly as often as every day.

So my post mostly made it to the news feed of all these people and managed to get those many like on Day 1. Then second day onwards when it was past the hype and out of the news feed of the Facebook frequenters, it could not manage to sustain the velocity and finally I ended up with just 109 likes over a period of 1 week. This was quite a lot considering that there was no content involved.

See the stats below: Graph showing # of likes received over 7 days

So what did I learn by this small experiment?

  • There is so much content being generated all around, in terms of posts, photos, videos, share etc there is only a small window to actually make your post visible to your friends and things quickly go out of focus.
  • Majority of my friends are not regulars on Facebook and my post did not make it to their feeds for them to like.
  • If you actually want to publish something, post it else where like a blog and then share it in Facebook, this would ensure that the post is still available post the initial hype days and other people who are interested to read about it can reach it by either searching for it or by feed aggregators.
  • Posts which are more personal in nature like a photo or a life event carry more weight in Facebook algorithms for the news feed.

So what would be my take on Facebook now? Facebook has a huge user base and that user base is helping it keep it active and growing at a fast pace. The current pace of growth and user engagement will ensure that it would still be around for some more time. But with the younger generations looking at alternatives it would just be time before it joins Orkut and other similar sites, hopefully I would be proven wrong! For me personally, it is getting more and more tiring with so many updates, so I prefer to use the lists feature to group friends so that I ensure that I get through all of them without having to spend hours.

Currently the social networking scene is growing bigger due to the various social revolutions and agitations being planned and executed via the social networking platforms. Also the corporate sector is pushing forward to ensure that their brands are highly visible and have high engagement levels on the social networking platforms. These two things combined should ensure that Facebook is around till the next big thing comes in. But with Google more or less still strategising on the social game and Microsoft not in picture, it would be quite some time before we hear of the downfall of Faceboook. Till then keeping posting and hitting the like button!