Granted, after overcoming an infamous fumble caused by its having gone public in May 2012, Facebook has "staged a five-month, 63 percent rally," in the words of Pandodaily's Kevin Kelleher. This dark horse rally includes recent reporting by Forbes qua analysts projecting a $38 target for Facebook shares (the same tracked amount at the time of Facebook's IPO).
Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler, in catching up with Facebook ad partners, also discovered "strong advertiser demand for Mobile, News Feed and FBX."
Such pragmatic optimism aside, Kelleher continued in his recent screed that Facebook is trading at 54 times its estimated 2013 earnings. This is comparison to, say, last September's Amazon shares trading at 100 times its estimated 2013 earnings (this before its profits slipped 45 percent last quarter, despite revenues going up 22 percent).
To Kelleher, the fact that Facebook may or may not be "dying" or even "over" is not nearly as pertinent as the notion that so many people are now asking whether it's in the midst of a kind of death knell.
Salon.com (experiencing notable trouble itself these days) reported on Tuesday that, indeed, Facebook is "over." The site deconstructed a new study by the Pew Research Center that showed 61 percent of current Facebook users have taken a break from the site "for several weeks at a time," 20 percent of adults who frequent the Web said they were once Facebook users but are no longer, and that only eight percent of those questioned said they are considering going back to Facebook at some point.
21 percent of those who have "taken a vacation" from Facebook said they were "too busy" to employ the social networking site. Ten percent noted the reason as simply being a general disinterest in the site altogether. Ten percent said the reason was an "absence of compelling content," while nine percent blamed their Facebook break on "excessive gossip/drama" from friends.
Other notable numbers include Pew's finding that 28 percent of Facebook users claimed the site has become less important to them over the last year and that 34 percent are on the site less often than before.
Most damning of all - possibly - is the fact that nearly one-third of those asked believe they will spend less time on Facebook this year.
(These numbers stemmed from nearly 550 adult Facebook users asked between Dec. 13 and Dec. 16, 2012.)
"The question now is whether investors will take note," concluded Salon's analysis of the Pew Report.
IT World's Dan Tynan suggested that the nascent decrease of Facebook usage may be attributed to (at least his own kids') increased use of similar sites such as Tumblr, Reddit, and Stumbleupon.
"In other words, the generation that follows Gen Z (for Zuckerberg) has grown disenchanted with the very nature of Facebook," said Tynan who now prefers Twitter to Facebook.
"And I gotta say, I'm starting to see their point."
What's worse, for Facebook fans, is that the site itself seems to agree with Tynan (or at least his kids).
"We believe that some of our users, particularly our younger users, are aware of and actively engaging with other products and services similar to, or as a substitute for, Facebook," the social network begrudgingly lamented in its recent 10-K filing with the SEC.
"For example, we believe that some of our users have reduced their engagement with Facebook in favor of increased engagement with other products and services such as Instagram."
After pointing to other possible causes of Facebook fleers (the site's "snooping" into the lives of its users, sharing data with advertisers, far too many superfluous redesigns, etc.), Kelleher sobers a bit while finishing up with an ultimate thesis that, "Unless Facebook finds dramatic new areas of growth, which seems less likely with each passing year, it's not going to take over the Web. But it's not going away either. We're stuck with it's [sic] mediocrity.
That's the boring truth about Facebook."