[Mark Zuckerberg has] always called Facebook a utility. Here’s a quote from an article by Jeff Clavier on “The Facebook” from October 27, 2005, when the service had around 5,000,000 members and was open only to students in certain universities and invited high schoolers, and was pretty much the Snapchat of its time:
Mark said that he has not conceived the Facebook as a social network – which is a community application, it is a directory that he considers a utility that students use in order to find information which is socially relevant.
Zuckerberg’s vision has had its occasional blips, but for the most part it’s been remarkably consistent for almost a decade now, and he’s never wavered on the idea of Facebook being a utility. More than anything else, that might be the mantra which got the service to 1.19 billion monthly active users. It’s also helped make it into a real business. Among the lessons of the web: The fact that something is cool doesn’t mean that there’s any obvious way to make a lot of money from it, and the fact that something isn’t cool doesn’t mean that it’s doomed to failure.
Facebook’s cool-kids problem, then, is not an existential threat. Rather, it seems to be an inherent limitation in the concept of a social network for everyone. You can have everyone, or you can have the cool kids, but you can’t have both. I’m guessing Facebook will settle for everyone.