We're eleven years into the age of Facebook, and I find myself having come full circle. I've abandoned Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, and reduced Facebook to an advanced kind of address book, which was what I used it for at the start. Umair Haque has an interesting take on it in his article Why Twitter's Dying (And What You Can Learn From It)[a], but I think the answer is even simpler: social media isn't that social anymore.
A sense of fullness has established itself. We've had our serving of social media, cleaned the plate, and we're done. All those interesting conversations? They happen offline when they happen. My online life, as seen through my Facebook feed, is mostly viral videos, marketing and outrage fodder. The development I do for social media is all about advertising. In short: social media is the new television.
What happened? I think we all realized that "online community" is nothing compared to offline communities and face to face interaction. It is rare that I see an interesting article shared online, and even more rare that I see someone writing something interesting on a social media channel.
It's like everyone looked at their social media sites and decided that "well, that was fun, what do we play next?".
In a way it is good. I'm seeing more interesting content appear on blogs again. It's like people have found their way back to "proper publishing" on the web, instead of firing off status updates and trying to build communities around 140 character thought snippets. It means we're abandoning the "oh snap" debates that would rage on Twitter, back toward a more thoughtful mode of discussion.
I don't think Facebook or any other social media company is going to crash anytime soon, but I do think it will take up a more reasonable part of people's lives.
...and the comments section is dead, missed by nobody.