Have you heard of this crazy thing called Facebook? This social media site has evolved from a few hundred thousand users to more than a billion in the last five years. This is truly astounding when you think about it: a BILLION users under the leadership of a guy in his 20s. I can’t imagine achieving such success at such a young age, but I can imagine how difficult it would be to keep your ego in check. Obviously, I have never met Mark Zuckerberg, so my opinion is based solely on what I see and read, but only someone with a huge ego would think that he could maintain success long term without caring about his customers. Unless there is a dramatic change, I believe that this will lead to the ultimate demise of Facebook.
You might think I’m out of my mind to predict the fall of this behemoth. Yet, that is exactly what I am doing. Quite simply, I believe you cannot ignore your end users; continue to upset them with changes they don’t want, haven’t asked for, or don’t understand; and then expect them to remain loyal to you. My whole career and professional philosophy of how to design our products is based on the fundamental rule that you have to not only listen to your customers, but also solicit and analyze their feedback, therefore ensuring their support and understanding of every change you are going to make. And if you make a mistake, you need to own it, learn from it, and correct it—all with your customers’ cooperation. In contrast, Zuckerberg’s/Facebook’s philosophy seems to be to implement what will generate the most revenue for shareholders, portraying an attitude more along the lines of, “Our customers might not be happy with our changes, but they’ll get used to them.”
Google Plus might not be nearly as widely adopted as Facebook—yet—with just a few hundred million active users, but if I were a betting person, I’d bet on Google Plus being around for a much longer time. Google very clearly listens to its customers and incorporates their feedback.
While social media certainly is not a fad, I believe Facebook is.