Are Facebook’s days numbered?
Social media is a lot like the computers/technology you use to access social media itself…they will one day be obsoleted by the newest and coolest gadgets/sites. Facebook has become quite comforatable in the catbird seat as of late, how many people do you know that don’t have a Facebook profile? I would wager that the list is dwindling more and more everyday. As more and more people…for example, your grandma (who still has a VCR flashing twelve in a dark corner of the living room) begins to participate in a specific form of technology, the early adopters grow nervous. At one time Facebook was “underground”, unless you had a valid school email to a list of networks you couldn’t even participate in Facebook. At one point Facebook was the hip new thing, now however it has evolved into mainstream use by your parents…and as I already mentioned most likely your grandparents (better watch what photos you’re tagged in people-potential employers totally look into that now…for real).
The point I’m getting at here is that for the most part, rather than falling into the “uncool” category, Facebook has managed to remain relevant and almost a part of daily life to those who use it. The technology allows you to connect, or even reconnect with people who ordinarily you would never keep up with regularly. Facebook has a power to suck you in, where you can keep up but not really HAVE to participate, in other words you can be a creepy stalker person without those pesky restraining orders.
As Facebook continues to grow, it’s creators have seen it’s share of growing pains, many coming in form of privacy issues while allowing ads/marketing of companies to use your personal data to help target and help with ad placement. It pisses people off, but Facebook is and never was a democracy, you choose to participate and use it’s service, it’s free, it’s easy, it’s a pretty attractive deal. In the midsts of these growing pains Facebook’s image was compromised greatly by recently shifting it’s terms and conditions by automatically opting people into information sharing they once might have selected to opt out from. This act cast the dark shadow of “corporate, sneaky, moneymaker” persona upon Facebook. They’re pushing hard to make money with Facebook, and why not, they’ve put a lot of time and effort into it. The problem is Facebook users are losing their ability to trust the intent of the site holding onto their personal information, they have created suspicion among it’s user base, and that’s a dangerous thing. think many people would abandon Facebook tomorrow if a comparable social networking site with perhaps a stronger sense user trust was represented.
Twitter isn’t really a Facebook killer, it’s almost a abridged version of Facebook, all status updates, no advanced user profile, a valuable tool, but not something I see as a realistic “Facebook like” competitor. LinkedIn is close, but focusses more on a business context, a whole different mentality. Updates like “I’m drinking a beer at the concert” are few and far between on LinkedIn. Google has thrown it’s hat in the ring several times with it’s offerings such as Wave and Buzz have proven to be a flop, all while Facebook continues to hold onto it’s user base. I’m familiar with sites like Namyz and Diaspora, however realistically they don’t have enough name recognition or draw to do much damage to Facebook, at lest not yet. Aren’t there any well positioned candidates to overthrow Facebook?…
Recently, it was leaked online from a reliable source that Google yet again is looking to tackle the social media scene offering a direct Facebook competitor called “Google Me” There isn’t a lot of info about it yet, however my curiosity is peaked. Google has a HUGE distribution base already with the many users already using one of it’s services like Gmail, Google Documents, Google Buzz, Google Wave, and Google Voice just to name a few. They have already had great success with their highly successful Google ads program. As far as positioning goes, you don’t get much better than Google. People tend to love Google like fat kids like cake. Think about, when’s the last time you said; “I’m going to do a web search for something”…yeah…right. “I’m going to Google that” is probably what you said. That’s right people it’s not just a company name but it’s now a VERB. I’m not assuring “Google Me” is the next big thing, especially since the recently released Wave and Buzz applications have proved to be less than mind blowing in functionality and overall adoption, then again Google never said any of these releases was supposed to be a Facebook competitor, the media were the ones asking that question. Though some techno bellyflops have occurred for Google recently, utilizing various elements of the current Google offerings (quite impressive) and integrating them with a Facebook type social media community presents a potential game changer. Unlike Facebook where you can direct message someone or write on their wall, imagine having options like “send a Google document” , sending a “voice message to Google voice”, as well as a number of many other Google applications. if the user experience of “Google Me” is beautiful, well designed and super easy to use, Facebook might very well rightfully be shaking in their boots. It’s really too early to tell at this point, but one things for sure, things are going to get interesting very soon in the ever evolving world of social media.