Will Facebook Be Gone In Ten Years?

Beaming adverts into our brains or dying out as the world goes mobile? MBAs at Harvard, Columbia and Wharton place their bets on Facebook’s future

Just over half of MBA students at the world’s top business schools have predicted that Facebook will be smaller or gone in ten years, in a mini survey run by BusinessBecause.

We ran the survey over the last three weeks, after Facebook made its IPO, covering 30 students currently enrolled on MBA programmes at business schools including Harvard, Columbia, Wharton, Michigan-Ross, London Business School and Spain’s IE Business School.

The students we spoke to are no slouches. They’re all presidents of important professional clubs at their business schools, covering areas such as technology, entrepreneurship, marketing and media.

A third of the MBAs say that Facebook will be smaller in ten years, citing factors such as users’ growing privacy concerns and Facebook’s weak advertising model. The brand will evolve into something like Yahoo! - still around and making money, but not the market leader it once was.

Of the students who think it will be gone, several expect that the “next big thing” will come along and kill off Facebook as quickly as it has grown, and also point to the Facebook’s device applications, which so far have been unsophisticated. More and more people are accessing Facebook via handheld devices, which is a problem not least because these platforms are less advertiser-friendly.

On the other hand, the bulls among the MBA crowd bet that Facebook will grow bigger over the next ten years because it has already won a “Winner Takes All” competition for our social networking lives. Its size and ubiquity mean that new online businesses of all kinds will simply be built off its platform.

This mini survey was conducted ahead of an in-depth survey of how MBA students around the world use technology and which tech trends they think will have the biggest impact on our lives. The BusinessBecause MBA Tech Tracker launches next week. Stay tuned for results later this summer...

In the meantime, read on to find out why MBAs at leading business schools think Facebook will be bigger, small or gone in ten years!

Facebook will be BIGGER in ten years!

“Slightly bigger, with completely different features. I think facebook will be used as a platform to build many other businesses on top of – almost as a portal to the internet through shopping, email, etc. Think of what AOL wanted to be in the 90s by owning a gateway to the internet, but Facebook has the user base and technology to actually do it and make a profit.” MBA at Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

“My sense, bigger – The world is getting more and more connected to the internet, and no reason to think people will be shying away from Facebook. Also, with their massive scope, they will likely soon start branching into new areas such as browsers, search, phones, etc.” MBA at Harvard Business School

“Absolutely bigger. Niche social networking sites like LinkedIn (and BusinessBecause!) will continue to exist and be successful, but the more general social networking business is a winner-take-all business and Facebook is likely to win it all.” MBA at Harvard Business School

“Everyone looks for recognition among their peers, which is why it is so addictive. All businesses have to use Facebook as one of their main marketing techniques.” MBA at Manchester Business School

Facebook will be SMALLER in ten years!
“In 10 years I think Facebook will be present but smaller as other platforms surpass them for specific verticals or niches.” MBA at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

“It will be around, but smaller I think (in terms of market cap). Social networking is trending towards mobile and niche; Facebook is neither of those things.” MBA at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

“Most likely smaller, partly because of the growing privacy concerns. In reference to the recent IPO, while FB is a fun social networking tool, it adds little to no value and, in some cases, erodes productivity. Simply put, it is somewhat analogous to a massive social club. If your friends stop ‘going’, you probably will also. I view it as another classic case of a wealth transfer, from the average individual investor to Wall Street and would not be surprised if the stock plunges to $20 in the next 6 months. While I am not a stock picker, I would advise to steer clear of FB for the following reasons:
FB’s ability to monetize mobile users is still questionable
Costs are growing faster than revenues
Pay-per-click ad revenue is dubious.” MBA at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University

“Smaller. Anyone who says gone isn't looking at a company like Yahoo who despite big declines since Web 1.0 (search) passed them by, still runs a profit. Web 2.0 (social) is still hitting its peak but I don't think it's unfair to say that Facebook won't be the Web 3.0 (mobile) winner just as Google is having a hard time with Web 2.0. And in 10 years’ time we'll likely have 4.0 which is something like advertisements beamed directly into our brains.” MBA at Columbia Business School

Facebook will be GONE in ten years!
“Facebook has proven its staying power over the past decade, but we do think that in the next 10 years, it will most likely morph into something that is completely different than what we know Facebook as today.” MBA at Columbia Business School

“The nature of the digital space is that it is very trend driven, and thus cyclical. Inevitably there will be a new 'next big thing' that will replace Facebook. Having said that, at the moment the current challenge for Facebook will be to devise a way to generate revenue from its device application service offerings, which are currently less conducive to advertising.” MBA at Columbia Business School

Watch out for our upcoming MBA Tech Tracker, a new annual survey to gauge tech trends from MBAs at the world's top business schools - the survey will be launched next week!


Interested in how Facebook got started? Check out our interview with Divya Narendra, one of the site's original founders

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