One model (I know, I know — if “policy” is the dirtiest word in the English language, then “model” must be a close second) shows that Facebook will lose 80% of its users by 2017:
It’s really hard to predict the future of Facebook because there’s really been nothing like it before; yes, Friendster languishes in the social network graveyard, and MySpace a cautionary tale, but Facebook’s scale so far surpasses predecessors that it’s much harder to imagine it fading away.
But even if it’s hard to imagine, it’s not that hard to map out onto a scientific model, as two Princeton engineering PhDs proved: in a paper that modifies a model for the spread of infectious diseases as a way to map Facebook’s trajectory, these researchers predict that the social network will shed 80 percent of its peak userbase by 2017, with a precipitous decline starting in 2015.
I dunno. Right now the Facebook vibe is much closer to “nobody goes there anymore — it’s too crowded.” But I guess we’ll see.