Facebook’s Fractured Future

Facebook’s Fractured Future

Facebook is no longer the big, all-encompassing unit it used to be.  Where it once appeared the social network juggernaut was going to be the platform that was all things to all people, it would now appear that this huge social network is turning into a collection of splinter groups.

When it comes to your mobile phone, Facebook is breaking into Messenger and WhatsApp for messages, Instagram for photos, and Paper for social news.  While all these apps are completely cool and function very well on their own, that is not how Facebook initially began.  Facebook was effectively sold to the public as a social media platform that would ultimately take over as the predominant internet platform.  The idea of this once-expansive social media platform becoming several little slivers of programming is intriguing, but the question begs to be asked – why did one of the world’s biggest social media platforms not start as several small different apps or programs in the first place?

Facebook

Put plainly, apps did not really become very mainstream until about 2009, when it was believed that apps would one day become as big as the internet itself, according to a report from BBC News.  It would appear that, over the span of five very short years, apps have come to dominate most smart phones and iPads, in the same way as television eventually dominated the mass market as well.

What Facebook has discovered is that people far prefer their technology in small, snack-sized bites rather than sprawling programs.  Google tried doing the same thing with Google+, but not too many people have the time to devote to online assembly of their social media circles.  Mobile apps, though, are quite a bit different.  They have their own unique demands and these demands are usually snack-sized in nature, which is more in keeping with the demands of today’s busy society.

However, that does not mean that Facebook will be successful in this attempt to fragment its huge social networking platform.  Android’s Facebook Home fizzled and it looks like Facebook Paper for iPhone may also be headed the same direction.  This does mean, however, that Facebook’s efforts to fragment into smaller apps will potentially make it even more user friendly for its audience, particularly the older segment of the population for whom technology may not be the easiest to grab on to.  Regardless of the motivation, this move towards fragmenting Facebook into smaller components may go a long way towards making the already valuable social network even more so.  What will be interesting is to see how the Facebook Audience Network, which was scheduled for launch earlier this week, functions as it remains an element of Facebook’s new delivery into smaller slices of the already busy social networking pie.