On the face of things, says Douglas Rushkoff at CNN, all signs "appear to be pointing up" for Facebook. Its youthful founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was Time's Man of the Year, "the movie about him seems likely to be an Oscar winner," and investment bank Goldman Sachs is steering $1.5 billion the company's way. "But appearances can be deceiving." AOL made its disastrous merger with Time Warner just as its fortunes peaked; MySpace was also at its "peak of popularity" when it was bought by Rupert Murdoch in 2005. Goldman Sachs' investment is a sign that Facebook is on the decline, writes Rushkoff—and Zuckerberg knows it. But how could the site, which attracts more people than any other on the Internet, lose its attraction? Here, an excerpt:
Social media is itself as temporary as any social gathering, nightclub or party. It's the people that matter, not the venue. So when the trend leaders of one social niche or another decide the place everyone is socializing has lost its luster or, more important, its exclusivity, they move on to the next one, taking their followers with them.