Do you feel that Facebook is going downhill?

Ten years of Facebook: is the network obsolete?

jae Luneburg. The blue thumb looks unnatural, a bit too angular if you look closely. And yet the Facebook “Like” symbol has a level of awareness that is second to none. When Facebook went online on February 4, 2004, nobody would have guessed that ten years later the virtual friendship book would be one of the most visited websites in the world. Terms such as “likes” and “shares” have long been part of the language of an entire generation. The network has well over a billion users on its tenth birthday.

But just in time for the anniversary, prophecies of doom pile up: Facebook is uncool is often read in the press. Younger users in particular would increasingly turn away from Facebook. In a study by Princeton University in New Jersey, researchers now predicted that Facebook would lose more than 80 percent of its users between 2015 and 2017. The researchers based their study on a formula that is used to calculate the spread and disappearance of highly contagious diseases. We asked the people of Lünburg: Is Facebook still cool?













In Lüneburg, Dr. Andreas Bernard the expert when it comes to social networks. The graduate cultural scientist is spokesman for the Center for Digital Cultures at Leuphana University and deals with the development of social networks such as Facebook. “What interests me most about Facebook is how it has created a new image of man in no time at all, which is constantly about presenting oneself as originally as possible,” says Andreas Bernard.

Anyone who wanted to create an image 15 years ago only had very limited options, says Bernard. For example, it was the small sticker on the rucksack or a pamphlet on the school bulletin board that contributed to the company's own public image. Since Facebook, however, there have been completely new rules for self-expression: “Today everyone lives in a semi-public sphere. A few years ago it was reserved for an elite group of prominent people, ”says Andreas Bernard.

For a long time, the term profile, as used by Facebook for the individual user pages, was thought of from people's peculiarities. "When a psychiatric patient was admitted or someone was in police custody, a profile was created on the person," says Andreas Bernard. However, a person's profile has long since been transformed from a means of identification into a more playful understanding of communication. "Police techniques have turned into cheerful voluntariness," said Andreas Bernard.

But why is Facebook so successful? Andreas Bernard: "I believe that the success of Facebook has to do with people's deep desire to present themselves in the best possible light." The feeling of being socially integrated plays an important role here. If you used to check your answering machine once or twice a day, you can experience the nice feeling with Facebook every 10 seconds that others are interested in you, says the 44-year-old.

Whether with a photo of breakfast, the current location or the most intimate emotional states - everyone who wants to communicate has the opportunity on Facebook. If you believe the headlines of the last few weeks, you want it less and less. "You have to be careful with forecasts, but I think Facebook may be on the decline by its tenth birthday," says Andreas Bernard. The design of the network is often too crowded, especially for Facebook users who are over 20 years old , burdened with too much information. "I believe that this accumulation of dense biographies is receding. The type of self-design is becoming more selective and focused, for example on Twitter or WhatsApp. It shifts even more to the moment. "