Someone always has to come in second place. In competive markets, the number 2 can be highly indicative. Is the contender threatening to overtake the incumbent? Or does the leading brand seem to possess an unassailable advantage? The swirl of speculation surrounding Facebook, the most popular social media site, is unprecedented. No one expects Facebook to be made instantly redundant like MySpace. But after the IPO fiasco, rebound, and new product release, Facebook is being watched very closely. Looking at the Facebook milestone infographic can inspire palpitations.
There are mixed reports of mass user exodus, while other data suggests that 82% of Facebook accounts are owned by active users. This number represents an impressively committed following. The numbers drop by around 20% for Twitter and Google Plus, the newer claimants for the social media game of thrones. Are they stalkers trying to poach users from Facebook, or do they offer new expressive possibilities? The answer lies somewhere in between.
This is good news for Facebook; it still has its edge. This is also good news for Twitter; its active user growth rate rose by 44%. This is good news for Google Plus too; it can legitimately say that it doesn’t aspire to make Facebook go the way of the dinosaurs. Google Plus is what is known as a “third way.” Third ways are positive market players. We don’t need costly antitrust lawsuits to tell us that monopolies aren’t healthy. At the same time, warfare between two rival brands can lead to a scorched earth policy, with nobody winning. On the other extreme, the third way is the balance between consumers having options and not being overwhelmed by a dizzying number of choices. The decision-maker in a win-win situation is good for business and the creativity that social media platforms promote.