Mark Zuckerberg’s prediction that the amount people share will double each year has yet to see if it will hold true for 2012.
Facebook’s CEO predicts that online users will double the amount of information they are willing to share online every year. This prediction is spun off Moore’s law which predicts that the speed which computers can process data will double about every 18 months.
Moore’s law seems pretty validated when you think about new applications, software and features our computers run within a minute, which would take an hour if we were still using computers made just a few years ago.
One of the differences between Moore’s and Zuckerberg’s law is that Moore’s law is more physics-based. Zuckerberg’s law has psychological factors that could mean his prediction may not always reign true.
DADapp and Social Safe Founder, Julian Ranger, said that Zuckerberg’s law, even if it has been fairly true, will not be in the future.
"It will definitely not continue much longer. There is a ceiling that each person has for sharing. There is a psychological cap and receiving cap. If I keep putting out all my photos but no one responds to me then why would I keep putting out all my photos? Sharing is a two way process," he said.
The fact that Zuckerberg’s law depends on the social habits of online users could mean the law has an unstable basis.
"Individually there are different levels of sharing and it cannot continue on an increasing level that Zuckerberg predicts. We get better each year but there will be a cap," said Ranger.
There has to be a practical limit in the amount of information people can receive. In social sharing we are arriving at the point where we are being flooded in data. Ranger predicts that information increasingly being shared will backfire.
"There was a phrase that was used by the military, ‘drowning in data, starved in information’ and this used to be a business and military problem. We are saturated with so much data that we are overloaded and it’s difficult to receive all the information that is being put out by friends," Ranger said.
It’s easy to think that Zuckerberg’s law seems slightly self-perpetuating but Jon Priestley at Social Media Agency, Umpf, said that penetration into new markets could help Zuckerberg’s law become true.
"Latest reports suggest that Facebook’s growth is slowing considerably in the US and other countries where market penetration is already high. However, with the rapid increase of people in developing nations becoming part of social networks, 2012 could yet be the year that we see Zuckerberg’s law come true, not just for Facebook, but for all social networks across the globe."
Yet after social networking becomes popular in developing countries will growth slow down, like Facebook has in the US? Social networking sites may need to move towards allowing users more control in who can see the information they share. An interesting example of this is Google+.
"We share with all different groups in different ways. We all do not share the same way with everyone in the same way. Google+ has tried to immolate this with their Circles methodology. They want to be both public and private and I don’t see how there can be a network that can be both public and private so it’s hard to end up with the best of both," said Ranger.
Whether Zuckerberg’s law will actually see validation in 2012 is yet to be seen but indications do suggest that online usage and social networks will see large growth in 2012. Priestly said that the amount of online and mobile usage will directly affect Zuckerberg’s claim.
"The rise of mobile Internet access and the significant increase in users accessing social networks on the move will also have an impact on whether Zuckerberg’s law will come true this year," Priestly said.
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