According to Princeton latest research, the social network Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s growth will ultimately come to a quick end, same like an infectious disease that spreads rapidly and dies suddenly. In this study, the researchers compared the abandonment and adoption dynamics of social networks by drawing correlation to the dynamics that govern the spread of infectious disease.
To draw conclusions, the engineers used epidemiological models. It’s a model used to track or predict the development of an epidemic. And here, social media is an epidemic. The researchers used the SIR model for this study, a collection of three components that help to understand the behavior of a whole population: (susceptible S, infected I, and recovered R) evolve during a disease outbreak. Mathematically, S + I + R = N, with N indicating population, independent of time. This assumption is valid for disease outbreaks that are short lived compared to the lifespan of the population members. They reach a peak and then their popularity drops, and that’s what the researchers wanted to see: could the same be true of social network adoption dynamics.
The team first considered the case of MySpace because it represents one of the biggest social networks in history to exhibit the complete life cycle, from rise to fall. MySpace’s full lifespan occurred within the range of search query data available from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Trends, made available only after January 2004.
After comparing MySpace to FB, the researcher concluded “Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing eighty percent of its peak member base between 2015 and 2017.” The researchers write, ideas, like diseases have been shown to spread infectiously between people before finally dying out, and have been effectively described with epidemiological models. They conclude that the social network’s decline has already begun. The study says, diseases are like ideas and continues: “Idea manifestos eventually lose interest with the idea and no longer obvious the idea, which can be thought of immunity to the idea.”