Facebook sustainable for foreseeable future, researcher says

While Princeton University researchers predict Facebook could shed 80% of its users over the next few years, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist has the social network's back and says Facebook's prospects are good.

Post-doctoral researcher Bruno Ribeiro of Carnegie Mellon's Computer Science Department has published a paper in which he describes a new model for predicting the growth or demise of membership-based websites, such as social networks. In the study, Ribeiro uses six years' worth of data on daily user activity to divvy sites into those that are self-sustaining, like the now 10-year-old Facebook, and those that rely more on marketing and news coverage to survive.

+ Also on NetworkWorld: Facebook turns 10 -- A look back at the milestones +

The self-sustaining sites are marked by having members who prod or inspire more passive users into remaining at least somewhat active. The sites themselves also exhibit behavior designed to spur activity among members. "If this model is correct, social network sites will try to make your friends' lives seem more interesting and your feedback on their posts more urgent," Ribeiro said.

Some teens may indeed be anti-Facebook
Facebook asserts its success of mobile with another strong quarter
At 10, Facebook strives not to be your granny social network

Though Ribeirio does caution that even successful self-sustaining sites can get taken down by upstarts, as Facebook did to MySpace (which is now back).

Sites aside from Facebook seen as self-sustaining by Ribeiro include the Huffington Post and LinkedIn, whereas Flixster.com, OccupyWallSt.org and TeaPartyPatriots.org fell into the unsustainable category.

Facebook will no doubt embrace the CMU report, unlike that of Princeton's, which the social network responded to with a cheeky research report in which it argues that Princeton "may be in danger of disappearing entirely."

Ribeiro hopes his model, which goes beyond pure membership numbers and growth rates, will help those building and investing in websites gain a better understanding of how to keep their sites active.

Ribeiro will present his research at the World Wide Web Conference, April 7-11, in Seoul.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in