By John Tabita

What Will You Do for a Living when the Web Is Dead?

By John Tabita

My nephew’s wife was frustrated. The “easy-to-use” site-builder software she was using to make the church camp website with was anything but. To make matters worse, their “free” hosting service came with a price—banner ads that randomly appeared on the site. And she found no help on the home front … unlike so many of the nephews out there that have built websites for their uncle’s business, mine was not one of them.

So in desperation, she turned to her Facebook friends to ask if anyone knew of a free and easy-to-use website builder—one without ads. A well-meaning friend replied:

That is so last decade. Why don’t you just make a Facebook fan page? It’s 2011; you gotta catch up with the times!


She even offered to set the page up for her.

Her thinking was reflected in a 2010 WIRED article entitled, The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet. The author makes the point that, the more we access the Internet using our smart phones, iPads, and gaming devices, the less we are using the Web or visiting websites. Is the rise of the app causing the decline the website? Welcome to Web 3.0.

You may or may not agree with the author, but here’s my point: Don’t assume the stuff you sell today will be the same stuff you sell tomorrow. When I quit my web business in early 2006, “social media marketing” was barely a blip on the radar. But if you believe the blogosphere, it’s now the Next Big Thing.

To paraphrase author Michael Gerber, the technical person (read, web designer / developer / SEO expert) looks inward at his skills and asks, “How can I sell this?” But the Entrepreneur looks out at the needs of the market and asks, “How can I fulfill this?” So let me rephrase my question. What will you do for a living when the Web as we know it is dead? What will you do when your skills no longer fit the needs of the market? Will you end up like the thousands of unemployed U.S. steel workers? Or like the ice harvesters of the 19th Century?

The Internet as we know it is going to be forever changed—if Facebook has their way, that is. In case you missed the memo, Facebook and Google are locked in a near-epic struggle over who will ultimately control the Internet and its content.

Another WIRED article describes “Facebook’s 4-Step Plan of Online Domination.” It starts with 200+ million Facebook members contributing billions of pieces of information, photos, and videos, resulting in a virtual “second Internet” … residing entirely on Facebook’s servers.

With all of this data, Facebook hopes it can get its members to access their content on their servers using Facebook search rather than Google. They’ve even made it possible for members to communicate and share with their friends without having to log in to Facebook, by allowing you to ‘like’ content on a network of “partner sites” or apps (adding even more content to Facebook’s servers). And to further their agenda to becoming the gateway people use to access the Internet, they’ve recently introduced Facebook email so people will think, “I’m already on Facebook anyway; I’ll just send Mom a message through Facebook rather than my email” (or Gmail).

Once they’ve accomplished this, they can sell targeted ads everywhere—not just on its own site, but across all of its partner sites and apps. If they’re successful, Google search and Google AdWords will be a thing of the past. If you think that’s too far-fetched, think about what Yahoo once was and what it is today.

Is Google nervous? You bet they are. And here’s why. When you search using Google, all they know about you is your IP address, so all Google can tell that website owner is: “The seven people who visited your website were from Ohio.”

But Facebook can say: “Here are the names of the people that ‘liked’ your content, how old they are, what college they went to, what music they listen to, what books they read, how many children they have, who their other friends are …” It’s a marketer’s dream! Think Google isn’t nervous? Think again.

The face of the Web and the Internet is changing. No-one, not the media, not even the experts of the day, foresaw the Internet coming into existence in its current form. And no one truly knows what it will ultimately become. Don’t assume the stuff you sell today will be the same stuff you sell tomorrow. So I ask again: “What will you do for a living when the Web is dead?”

  • jon

    Even though facebook exists, many people do not realize how to use it properly for their business. They just throw up a quick fan page and expect it to bring in business.

  • Bryce

    I consider myself a web developer at heart, but even more so I’m a software developer. The nature of technology means its going to shift, you just have to be prepared to shift with it. If your skill set only allows you to build html websites on the web, then you probably need to rethink what your doing. Almost all web related skills can translate to other technologies/platforms with minimal work. If you have no skills that translate then you probably shouldn’t be calling yourself a professional. I’m not worried.

    • kaf

      I agree.

      As programmers we are just as able to build ‘apps’ as we are websites. The bulk of our work is in server side programming and that isn’t going anywhere. This article is seems to suggest that the markup and script that browsers use is going to die off or something (which it isn’t). While html, css and js is still a big part of my job, as a developer it is only a small part of my skill set (the simple part).

      Maybe this article is aimed more at web designers than web developers. Web designers tend to have a much narrower skill set. They learn html and css as a design tool only without fully understanding the technology. Take that away and I suppose there will be a lot of designers wondering if they chose the right career path.

      But as I said, html-css-js is not going anywhere. Just because other tech is using the internet as well does not mean that we will stop using websites. And this article seems to miss the point that a modern website is more than just what appears in the browser, it is the db and server side code more than anything. Apps are really just another kind of website, with a different UI. Nothing more. And people like us will still be needed to build them.

      • Anonymous

        On the other hand, no matter what platform businesses use to display content, it will still need to be designed. So I don’t think designers need to worry either – if they are happy to develop their skills and be flexible.

  • Daniel

    Scary article because of how true it is turning out to be.

    As a programmer/developer I often feel like I’m chasing the dead ends. Maybe we all need to switch to apps and facebook type of development and be ready for the future. I feel “old school” already and have only been a developer for less than a handful of years.

  • JO

    Hi. I’ll never understand this mode of thinking. Facebook is a website. It’s made of webpages. And it’s on the web.

    • Here’s an article that might help:

      Facebook Isn’t (Just) A Destination. Here’s a quote:

      When Mark Zuckerberg and his team talks about helping people to connect, he isn’t just talking about on http://www.facebook.com. He wants them to connect anywhere (online, mobile, tablet, etc…) and everywhere (on other websites, Blogs, etc…)… he just wants Facebook to facilitate that connection (and have access to that data) – wherever it might occur.

      If you can see Facebook more as a platform than the destination where you see whose Birthday it is today or who posted some racey photos of themselves online, you can begin to see how the bigger pieces are starting to click together in this very interesting puzzle. (italics mine)

  • Drazen Mokic

    One one side, very scary. One the other side, there will always be a need for designers and developers, maybe in a different way for a different purpose.

    No computer can really design and develop a website at the moment, and when they can, i think we will have more serious problems than that.

  • Mark

    I thought the cite article was wanky when it was released. This one is wanky too. The growth of the web and web technologies is increasing – not diminishing.

  • Matt

    This definitely seems to be the way things are going. My area of expertise is designing and building websites for businesses, mainly WordPress sites.

    I’m trying to imagine what the equivalent of this would be in the future? At the minute I’m thinking really advanced Facebook fanpages, those that would let you completely customise the look (e.g. Facebook’s own equivalent of HTML & CSS) as well as alter their behaviour (e.g. a Facebook equivalent of WordPress, or even a programming language like PHP).

    This is something I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on so that I don’t one day find myself out of a job and unqualified to do anything else!

  • Jean-Nicolas

    I don’t believe the Web is dead at 100%. Maybe 50%. I think that allot of things we use to do online will be translated to social networks like Facebook. But they are many things on the Web that cannot be done on social networks.

    Facebook will be a perfect platform for promoting new products/services. This is why Coke, Adidas and many others get more traffic on Facebook then on there Website.

    But you have to think about other types of Websites like online stores, Web services, Web applications… They can’t be put on Facebook.

    So they will be things that need specific environment and UX. So Facebook might be use to gain information on the users and there OAuth can be use to login to those apps and services…

    So basically if your someone that builds website to promote products/services/events your job is in danger. But if you build web apps and web services (REST and SOAP) you are safe (for now).

    Website that do simple and repetitive things will die but web apps/services that are different from what is usually done on the Web, will survive.

    To conclude, the Web is not dead at 100%, maybe 50%. Is the rest of the Web going to die soon? No, because they are many very simple and repetitive services/web site that Facebook replace but for apps that are very different and not repetitive, will be fine.

    Here is a video that can give you an idea of the jobs that are in danger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjG3IGbK0Pg

    For me: I am not worried I build web apps and web services (REST & SOAP)… I am safe. :)

  • John V

    I guess I’ll change my job title from “Web Developer” to “Internet Developer”. Then in small print I’ll mention I make SEO optimized Facebook pages. ;-)

    In all seriousness though, I don’t necessarily think that web developers have THAT much to worry about. As JO said, Facebook is a *website* (made of webpages, on the web).

    Even if Facebook were to be the next huge-omg-wtf-platform, it is just another platform that web developers will add to their arsenal of tools. Including the “next big thing” after Facebook – whatever that may be.

    To believe that the requirement for bespoke software ( software/websites/apps/etc) on the web will go away anytime soon is a little premature IMHO.

    Like Daniel, I feel pretty old-school after having been in this business for about 8 or so years, however to say that I am *only* doing web development on websites isn’t true any more. I, like many in the trade, work on mobile web apps, facebook pages/apps, emails, etc.

    While it is certainly true that companies are setting up their own Facebook pages and even websites, for a lot of them it is still much more cost-effective to employ someone else to do this who knows the pitfalls and can deliver professional results.

    The same reason car mechanics are still in business, while individuals could learn how to maintain and repair their own car, it is much more cost and time effective to hire someone to do it without investing all the time and money required to learn that particular skill.

    Alas, I digress.

  • Maxine Sherrin

    Nice article and interesting take on this topic.

    I would need to change careers completely were this battle to reach its endpoint anytime soon. Things like Facebook offer a relatively friction-free way of making a living. Big deal, I can do that anywhere.

    I’ve chosen to work on the web as it is now because it’s a place I can, even in the smallest of ways, stick to my values on a daily basis, where I can do my own thing, explore interesting and progressive ideas, and hardly ever have to bow down to the values of a corporation. Facebook, obviously, is not this place.

    So, to answer your question, I think I’ll go back to knitting socks, growing lentils, playing the guitar, and see how that works out :)

  • John Allsopp

    many’s the time I want to open a MTB and outdoor shop.

    (CSS pioneer Tod Farhner, where the F in FIR comes from, opened a bike shop in Portland some years ago – I often think he was the smartest one of the lot from back then ;-)

  • John Allsopp

    But seriously – opportunities for developers with hTML/CSS/JS skills are about to go through the roof – in the app space – both for the web, but also iOS, Android, webOS, WinPhone 7, …

    Unbelievable opportunities there IMO.



    where I keep up to date with trends


    which we are running in Seattle in May, focussing on precisely this stuff


  • John

    The recent changes to Facebook and it’s new iFrames (which is something I haven’t used for years btw) means all these Fan pages will still need to created and hosted somewhere, it also opens the door for a single database driven site with one source of data served, searched and displayed in various formats and platforms all styled with CSS… The future never looked brighter :-)

  • JR

    Retire and live on a fortune made from providing anti-swine shields to airlines and selling sweaters to the residents of Hell.

    The web is changing, but it’s certainly not dying. As for Google, their product portfolio is diverse, and they continue to be a major force of disruption in any market they enter. (Android anyone? Chrome?) When the Google guys started changing the world, the only thing Facebook’s fearless leader was waiting on was for his voice to change. Over a decade later, they’re still changing the world, and will continue to long after Facebook has gone the way of Myspace.

  • Captain Hyperbole

    Any web software developer worth their salt shouldn’t have much trouble switching between web and app development, the underlying skills are very similar. It’s not like apps that replace web sites run on their own anyway, they still need a server to pull data from, all that’s would really change is the client side presentation of that data. If all you can do is write html/css then you might possibly be in trouble, but if that ends up being the case then you shouldn’t really have been relying on such a narrow skillset to keep you in work. A designer who knows html can still design for other systems, and a developer who uses html can learn objective c.

    The facebook business page aspect isn’t really a threat, not unless they start offering e-commerce solutions and how many businesses are going to trust facebook with that sort of information. Myspace killed off music websites because it offered approximately the same thing as standalone band pages, a facebook fan page is not the same as having your own functional business website. Let’s face it, anyone running a serious e-commerce business (i.e. anyone lilable to pay you properly) is not going to try and set it up themselves with a DIY website package.

    All the facebook pages may do is kill off cheapo badly made catalogue websites, which is no great tragedy. The demand for skilled web and internet professionals will only carry on going up as the technology gets ever more ubiquitous.

  • BC

    The brilliance of the Internet is that it provides a platform for content and collaboration without it being controlled by a single entity… In the case of Facebook we are actually putting the power back into the hands of a small number of individuals… and that is something we should seriously consider and be concerned about!

    The way I see it we have two diverging groups of Internet users: The serious social networkers, who post anything and everything about their lives online without consideration of potential implications; and those who are growing more and more privacy conscious who will vehemently defend their right to privacy.

    The first group is mainly your new generation Internet user, those who only started using the Internet within the last five years. The second group is by far the smaller, but it is my belief that the next five years will see a major growth in this sector.

    For example, aren’t you fed up with all the unsolicited marketing, from banner ads to telesales, that assaults every aspect of your life and eats into your valuable time? Well, if you stop sharing your mobile number and email address with anyone and everyone, or those who do share so liberally, then you may be able to regain some sanity. And on the other hand, can you trust a single entity to know and possibly control the use of every private detail of your life?

  • Eric from Nashville

    Is Google nervous? Not likely. No marketer worth their salt would rely on the accuracy of FB demographics data. BTW, I’m not from Nashville and my name’s not Eric.

    • Really? I guess that explains why Facebook’s 2010 ad revenue was $1.86 billion.

  • netnerd85

    The worlds oldest professional will always be my backup. Plently of rich old men out their looking for some young meat. Everyone has a price!

    Do you work for Facebook or something?

  • Anonymous

    Oh man you are the kind of guy that only lives on buzzword.
    Sure, what you describe is partly already here.
    But it’s not that we are all building websites for our uncles.
    Personally I’m already capable of writing apps for the android and also willing to do so.
    Point is, there are a huge lot of complex applications that can’t simply work on state of the art smartphones and they will not in the near future as well.
    Smartphones and the like are simply very relevant end-terminals of complex applications that need to work also when you are not having your drink in the bar down the corner.
    That is the web, not serving pages in a browser.
    Please more meat and less buzz or you are soon to end in my ignore list.

  • Tom

    Laziest article ever. Write a threatening title for a quick jolt in traffic. No need to even check it for spelling and grammar errors.

    You’re basically announcing the death of front-end web technologies. If you are going to do that, you need to back it up with more than “my relative started a Facebook page instead of using their host’s ready-made site builder!”

  • revsorg

    I bet Google knows more about you than your IP address.

  • Wolf_22

    This ball of Orwell is pushed over the edge by people who know nothing about the software in general. They decide to take this 1984 approach with their perspectives because it takes them out of their doldrums and makes them feel less static. Whenever you’re stuck behind a computer monitor for hours upon hours, you begin to feel lonely and forgotten about. All that time alone can do amazing things to your train of thought, especially when your everyday responsibilities consist of thinking metaphorically and in abstract terms…

    As unfortunate as it may be to some and not so for others, I doubt the internet is going anywhere anytime soon and the same goes for the web. As much as I love to shove specifics into proverbial containers of expression, the two are the same and because of this, it reflects genetic similarities equivalent to the comparison between HTML and (X)HTML. The same breed, just a different colored fur…

    But for hits and giggles, let’s entertain this apocalyptic idea and suppose this Matrix-esque villain is in fact something of a reality. That said, web design and development suddenly takes a huge turn with how we’ve come to know it…

    Would we really be classified the same way we are now as web designers or web developers? No. There would be some new flashy label for our ilk, much the same way the label “programmer” has died out in today’s more contemporary world… As a matter of fact, this article reminds me of the following piece of art:


    The reason I say this is because it supposes a sudden eventuality that will take not only take some time to have happen but also a completely different sort of worker altogether for it to happen, in which case, our type have already evolved.

    Those kinds of changes don’t happen easily and if you find yourself fear stricken to the idea this article conveys, well, you’re not stepping outside of your cubicle enough to get fresh air and reflect on the bigger picture of things.

    It’s just another dot-com orgasm that will have a big explosion at first and once everyone walks out of their bomb shelters and realizes we’re all still here, everything will normalize again until the next big thing… Out with the old, in with the new, sure, but it’s still just a big rerun.

  • Andy Smiff

    This article seems very misguided.
    The web is definitely not dead and shows no signs of ever being dying for designers or developers not to mention the whole host of other web related professionals out there such as SEO’s, UX Designer, Interaction Designers, Analysts etc.
    Having a Facebook page is the most basic of modern web social media strategies and no serious business would ever drop their own website in favour of a Facebook page.
    Facebook pages are great for people who have no money to spend on professional web services, have no technical ability what so ever or just have a complete lack of knowledge of the web in it’s current state.
    If you learn a single thing from this article please let it be this…Never, ever ask your friends publicly on Facebook if they know of a solution to something! It becomes a rabble of know it all’s with no professional knowledge commenting on topics/services they have no formal training, qulaifications, experience or talent in.
    Any brand that wants to have a sustained presence in their industry needs to invest in professional web design and development. There is a reason that professionals web designer & development agencies charge anywhere from two thousand to two million for website or app creation… There is actually a science behind it all and it is extremely complex.
    Here’s a fastball for you… Do you think Google or Facebook became who they are today by using site builders or relying on other platforms “pages”?
    On another note, Google sure as hell are not nervous about Facebook as both provide platforms that are so different they don’t even compete with each other in the bigger picture.

  • revsorg

    The starting point for this article is about a church deciding what to do next on the Internet and opting just for Facebook. We just rolled out a new website for our local church – http://www.lrbc.org.uk – and took a different approach, based on the skills we could bring to bear, and trying to express the ethos of the church.

    The website is where they establish their brand, and have the opportunity to engage their audience in detail on a very wide range of topics. For example, it’s where you would expect to find details of how they do weddings and funerals. There is a WordPress blog for news that integrates with Twitter and Facebook. When they tweet it appears on their website home page and on Facebook. There is a slideout Facebook tab on the homepage. Facebook leads people back to the website in a variety of ways. The point being that while their website is their home on the web, they engage their audience where their audience is. Engage everywhere. We’re not fighting Facebook, but trying to integrate it into what we do in an intelligent way. And trying to make the whole thing work on a normal browser and on a smartphone. It’s still a work in progress, and definitely not perfect yet, but the skills involved in conceiving and delivering it do not lead me to think we are going to be out of a job in the near future.

  • pziecina

    Didn’t someone write a similar article about everyone using wordpress for web sites a few years ago, and blogs being the de-facto web site format a few years before that?
    If we have learned anything in the last 19 years, it is that on the web ‘there is always something new’ and ‘the latest killer app’.

  • Jack

    I will grow grass. That can never be replaced.. :P

    • netnerd85

      What country do you live in? grass has already been replaced with plastic, you never have to water it, it’s always greener and looks pretty good… huge advancements have been made in this field.

      What you want is to control the water supply or power!

  • Sam Parmenter

    To be honest, I barely agree with any of this article. You are comparing google vs facebook to google vs yahoo as an example of a large companies fall. What relevance to google and facebook does the fact that google created a much better product than yahoo.

    Facebook can tell someone what age, location etc someone visiting a page is… whereas google can only tell you the rough geographical area. Again, what sort of comparison is that. Google is a search engine. Facebook is a social network site with all your personal information on it.

    If we remove the bored mothers and teenagers from the facebook equation, we are left with very few people as “power users” of the site. I would wager that less that 2% of internet use is facebook. People with real lives dont have time to sit on facebook all day and don’t bother liking every page that they visit on a website. So when that vendor asks facebook for some information about all the people visiting their site they will be told. Well sir, 60% of people were not signed into facebook when they visited, 20% didnt want to share that information and the rest of them were a mixture. Wow, thats genius.

    All I can see this accomplishing is the massive outrage at the new advertising crap that this would allow.

    Facebook has already shown that they are unwilling to actually accept user direction with the functionality they desire.

    Show me any decent company with just a facebook page to represent them on the web and I will be amazed.

    It feels like some of the articles here are here for the sake of polarising discussion rather than actual importance.

  • palmtree


  • awasson

    Ok, a couple of things…

    1) Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Vimeo, etc… are side dishes to websites. They never will replace the marketting and communications tool that a real website is. I’m sorry that your nephews wife didn’t think to call upon you for some tips on what to use to build the church site. I’m sure that if she had, you would have pointed her towards one of the many CMS projects in WP, Dupal or Joomla that rally specifically around church building.

    2) The internet died back in 2000/2001 when the economy tanked however it came back in the Spring of 2003 and has not let up. As a matter of fact when the economy tanked in 2008 it didn’t register so much as a blip on our bottom line except that our print business to internet business ratio became less print more internet. Since then we have historically been booked about 4 to 6 months in advance.

    3) Apps are all the rage… They go hand in hand with and are an extension of the web.

    4) I’m a developer/prgorammer…. I was writting machine code and basic programs when I started playing with technology over 30 years ago and I had no idea that email and websites would be part of my professional life so I expect my career will continue to morph as the technological frontier continues to grow.

  • BPM

    “Don’t assume the stuff you sell today will be the same stuff you sell tomorrow.”

    Truth. Everything changes, but what else is new? As a technologist you have to keep up. That’s been true forever. When I went to school I actually punched cards, and by graduation Photoshop still only did back and white.

    I also think FaceBook is just one F^@#-up from being the next AOL. Nothing lasts.

  • Joomlanomics

    Facebook TOS (Terms of Service) permit only one account per person, as in the real world “you”. At the moment they can leverage the failure of the global economy to adapt to virtuality. Look at the failure of the UK government to bring in ID cards or protect citizens from data theft and online fraud. Only governments truly require this TOS Facebook insists on (but importantly has no right to)…that is to collect tax and to establish nationality in case of foreign travel. Governments have yet to wake up (or convince their populations) a new ID system is in the best interests of their people to assist this process. When they do, Facebook will fall because they are leveraging this opportunity created by failings in governance. Hence the suspicion by some FB is a CIA plot to control the world.

  • Christian Apostolu

    The article was interesting. The important thing is not where the web will be in the future. As a software developer I continually learn, develop new skills and pretty much repackage myself on an ongoing basis. Those that can adapt will always have a job. I’m not really worrying about it.

  • Dphantom

    If the web dies as we know it I can continue designing graphics for the print world or use my programming skills.

  • Arkh

    “When you search using Google, all they know about you is your IP address”
    I had to laugh.

    • Fine. Let me rephrase that. All they’re legally allowed to reveal about you without a subpoena is your IP address.

  • “It feels like some of the articles here are here for the sake of polarising discussion rather than actual importance.”

    As much as I’ve enjoyed the so-called “polarising discussion,” I didn’t ask for a debate on Google vs. Facebook or a discussion on whether or not the Web was dying. And I most certainly did not announce “the death of front-end web technologies,” as one person has accused me. In fact, I never said I agreed with anything in the article I cited.

    “Truth. Everything changes, but what else is new? As a technologist you have to keep up.”

    Thank you! That was the discussion of “actual importance” I sought to generate. The articles I cited were merely examples of some of the forces in place that are threatening to change the Internet into something most of us will probably not like.

    It seems somewhat absurd to have to quote myself, but I recall mentioning what my main point was:

    You may or may not agree with the author, but here’s my point: Don’t assume the stuff you sell today will be the same stuff you sell tomorrow.

    You see, I live in a section of the U.S. where, 30 years ago, you could graduate from high school and get a $25 dollar-an-hour job working in the steel mills. Many people who did so eventually found themselves jobless, with reduced pensions, and working for a little more than minimum wage. They did not “keep up” as technology changed and manufacturing went offshore. As it was taking place, I imagine many people comforted themselves with reasons and justifications why it could not or would not ever happen. And I’m sure others never even saw it coming. So here’s the main gist of my article: Don’t let the same thing happen to you.

    “Write a threatening title for a quick jolt in traffic.”

    It’s called Hyperbole – “the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally.”

  • biggreenmouse

    Darn we’re all toast, we might aswell all quit now, go back to a single point of failure mindset and start training as electricians.

    • A fine example of hyperbole, if I do say so.

  • Lee Francis Wilhelmsen

    Somebody really needs to define what is meant by the “web”. There is no Facebook without the “web”. There is no “web” without the Internet. How can Facebook be competing with the “web”. It makes no sense…

  • W0lfgang from Chicago

    The way I look at it, even if Facebook were to dominate in the way that this article suggests, the fact is that Facebook can’t really become an “Internet 2”. The internet and the web are open systems in which I can setup a website for the world to see. If I only put this content on Facebook, I no longer own the content and Facebook can do pretty much whatever they want with my page since they technically own it. Speaking for myself, I think Facebook is a great way to enhance marketing and drive traffic to my website, but I would not let a Facebook page become my sole presence on the web. That being said, there may be many small startups and personal websites that may become “Facebook” only, but most professionals don’t work on such tiny sites anyway. So, when these small companies and individuals become more successful, they won’t have the time to deal with their internet presence and they will come looking for the very professionals that are posting comments on this site today.

  • John Tabita

    It’s not that Facebook is competing with the Web. It’s that Google and Facebook are competing over which one will control its content.

    If Facebook can convince enough people that its content is more valuable as searchable information (because it’s your friends’ and friends’ of your friends’ opinions), then Facebook and its content becomes the de facto portal people use to get the info they need. Google is shut out because all this content is locked behind Facebook’s servers and completely unsearchable via Google.

    I’m not saying that I’d like this to happen or that I even think it will. I’m merely reporting what’s happening as an example of how things can change without us even being aware.

    The second article I cited goes into more detail about Facebook’s plan.

  • Derrick

    Not disagreeing with the author, but once MySpace was supposed to take over the Internet.
    Yes Facebook is like nothing we’ve seen thus far, but we live in a “fad” society and always have. “Fad” is a sword that everyone lives and dies by, Obama, MySpace, and yes even the almighty Facebook at some point.
    People get tired of things. I’m even already bored with Facebook .
    While Google and Facebook duke it out, there are others out there scheming to take their own piece of the pie. I don’t like the idea of anyone dominating the net, not the government, not Facebook, no one.
    I am a web designer and marketer and often wonder how much longer my skills will be relevant. I have no idea what I would do next because I am not good at anything else.
    Bottomline: the jury is still out.

  • Mark R

    The Web as we know it will not die. The simple truth is that a business has to be DIFFERENT in order to be recognized, and as such, if everybody had a facebook page or a LinkedIn ad, they would look the same.

    The world is stuck in a gravitational pull of what is the latest way to see people with a virtual smile on their face (facebook, linkedin, online dating, etc.) and that will never last.

    Substance will have to come back in order for our economy to grow again…and it’s not on any of the sites above.


    • John Tabita

      “The simple truth is that a business has to be DIFFERENT in order to be recognized.”

      I take my youngest son to the same McDonald’s about once a week when we drop off my oldest at Scouts. Yesterday he tells me, “You know what I hate about McDonald’s? We come here just about every week and I see the same people behind the counter every time, but they don’t know us or even recognize us.” (That was from a 10-year-old.) So we had a discussion about relationship marketing … one of the essential things a small business must do to set itself apart.

      You’re right. Although these things are helpful or even necessary, if we merely follow along like lemmings and fail to do those things that set us apart, we will never last.

      When email marketing was all the buzz, I decided to send out a printed newsletter to my mailing list every few months. Sure, it cost more, but it stood out more than it would have in a overcrowded Inbox.

      In my industry, we’ve seen a number of clients pull out of their Yellow Page advertising to go completely with the Internet. Those that stay in the book have seen a sharp spike in their call volume because the heading is less cluttered. Sometimes, the wisest course of action is to look at what everyone else is doing, and then do the exact opposite.

  • Jameos

    “Here are the names of the people that ‘liked’ your content, how old they are, what college they went to, what music they listen to, what books they read, how many children they have, who their other friends are…”

    This is EXACTLY why I closed my facebook account. I don’t want people knowing what I am doing on the web. I much prefer being a random IP address in someone’s log.

    If facebook users are content to have their personal details shared with anyone and everyone, so be it. But there is most definitely a price to be paid for that. And once people realize how high that price really is, they will flock back to the anonymous web in droves.

    • John Tabita

      “If facebook users are content to have their personal details shared with anyone and everyone, so be it. But there is most definitely a price to be paid for that. And once people realize how high that price really is, they will flock back to the anonymous web in droves.”

      Facebook’s agenda is that no one will be “anonymous” on the web any longer; everyone will have an online identity. Now, depending on your age group, that either scares the crap out of you, or you don’t care. Facebook claims that younger users are less concerned about privacy. Maybe that’s true, or maybe it’s their way of justifying their blatant disregard for its users’ privacy when making behind-the-scenes changes to their default settings.

      I’m not sure I agree with you that people will “flock back to the anonymous web in droves.” Maybe they will, but I think most will shrug their shoulders and say, “No big deal.”

      In reality, the most insidious thing about this is marketers know more about you and are about to serve up ads that are more relevant to your interests. I think there is some value in that … up to a point. (But I still take steps to guard my privacy when I feel it’s going beyond that.)

      The day when our economy becomes so dependent on Internet companies like Google and Facebook, and the Government winds up having to bail them out (à la, the U.S. auto industry) and gains access to all that private data … well, that’s when the world becomes like the plot of an Oliver Stone movie.

  • Derrick

    From a professional web developer’s point of view, Facebook will always be a nice “auxillary” marketing tool, but will never replace a custom dot com url where a company can control all aspects of their site.
    Also, people will always use search engines to find info and products. I would never think of using Facebook to find a pair of shoes or info on a new movie. And, Google knows more than your ip these days.

    Bottom line: both Google and Facebook have their relevant place in the “webosphere”. Will Facebook take some money out of Google’s pocket? Certainly.

  • Silver Firefly

    I’m not worried. I know that in a storm, if a tree doesn’t bend in the wind then it will probably be uprooted.

    I can adapt very easily. I will adapt whenever there is a need to.

    As for Facebook and Google. They do not control anything I choose to do in my life. 99% of the time, I don’t even notice the adverts served up on FB, and it’s a similar story with Adsense. 99.99% of the time, I’m not affected at all by any form of advertising, whether it’s on the Internet or on TV or when I’m out and about. When I do watch or look at an advert, I very rarely buy anything because of it. If I need to buy something, I shop around. I don’t let adverts influence my buying decisions. Perhaps it’s time other folks stopped giving FB, Google and other companies so much power via their adverts?

    What does influence my buying decisions are things like brand, reputation, and past experiences.

    So, FB and Google are not making any money out of me, even though they have a fair amount of personal information about me. They can serve up as many adverts as they like, but it’s useless if I’m not paying attention to 99 – 99.99% of them! So my personal information is all but useless to those who want to use it to make a profit.

    The web is not dying. It is evolving, as it should. No-one is in danger of losing their jobs or not being able to get work as a designer or a developer, provided they adapt.

  • Least we not forget the economic realities of evolution and the cyclical nature of populations expanding at a rate of 10,000 consumers being born every day in America.

    As more and more people are affiliating towards the media explosion of the next big thing. Yes Google and FaceBook are two different platforms and yes they hold a lot of information of who and why but the consumer still has a choice and from my last search on the net has found programmers and digital analyst are two for one on every job advertisements for hire, where construction workers are 20 to one or they’re about.

    When Steve Jobs, Apple butted heads with Adobe and then changed their stance with the developers in the mobile space; that is where the next big thing is. The HTML5 will be a game changer and that is where more applications will be developed. The GNU and corporations who use this avenue will need more security than ever.

    So who is going to developed all these programs? The websites that are e-commerence will need to bring every bullet that they can get their hands on in order to stay competitive. Your skills as an applications devloper will be in great demand if you market and apply this ongoing knowledge with “the love” and endless hours of devotion.

    In an age of instantaneous gratification “done that”; what’s next? It is places like this blog site and others where opinions and ideas are springing forth the new technologies that are replacing jobs through automation and still there will be a need for application developers and system programmers to run them; providing you never stop reading and listening to “What If”.

    The Web is information and it is what has gotten us to this point in time. It will take us into the future; providing you build on its history and continue data mining your resources. Face Books 500 million + and now Google getting into the ring, I wouldn’t worry about a job if you are in this field. Your expertise is priceless more than social.
    I need you from the neck up we can program the rest of the parts.

  • I have worked online since 1983 ( before the WWW). The secret to staying employed is to ADAPT to the market and approach business from an innovative approach. I made a bunch of money on Compuserve and the Source. I started out in Desktop Publishing but saw that changing and adapted. In the past 6 years we seen Facebook popup, Google Adwords, and about 30 other products / services that offer employment and new business.

    The WIRED article was right on about the Web. But I can’t wait for the new technologies coming along in the next 2-3 years that don’t exist today.

    Adapt or die.

Get the latest in Entrepreneur, once a week, for free.