I had the great pleasure of listening to an interesting Facebook talk by Julie Hall last night at the Social Media London meetup. She did a great job in spite of not having a big screen to show the audience what she was talking about – no mean feat!
Toward the end of the session we had questions and answers going and one thing that I picked up on is the backlash against Facebook from early adopters. The big F has been around since 2004 and the novelty has worn off with most people in the west by now (not so in other parts of the world).
Cool kids quitting Facebook
We all know people that for one reason or another have quit Facebook. Most of them are back on the grid within a couple of weeks time. Why is this? Probably because Facebook does offer a good infrastructure for messaging, sharing pictures and videos, helping us stay abreast of people's lives and all of this one place.
Nevertheless, the fact that people are trying to jump ship is interesting in itself. These are typically the early adopters who joined up first and they are not onto new places to hang out online. Twitter is probably the biggest contender, it is the simplest platform of them all and this is the appeal of it.
Confession time: I have toyed with the idea of quitting Facebook myself as I don't use it anywhere near as much as Twitter or LinkedIn. I prefer to do one or two platforms really well than to be everywhere with not enough interaction. But for a number of reasons (me being a social media consultant for one) that's just not going to happen so I plod along.
Sticky conversations stick to your shoes
One benefit of Facebook is that if a status update, be it from a Page or person, gets comments and Likes it tends to be bumped up in everyone's home feeds. This means popular posts typically containing video or a photo get even more attention and everyone wants to join in on the fun and interact. The results it that the update gets sticky, for better or worse.
The trouble here is that whenever you click Like or enter a comment, you will be notified whenever someone else does as well. Depending on your settings, you'll get an email, a text message or just a red notification when you sign in to Facebook. These constant updates from very popular posts have me refraining from actually reacting to updates on Facebook. If I really like the post I'll just tweet it instead and mention whom it came from, again Twitter is much simpler.
The MySpace scenario
Not long after Rupert Murdoch and News International bought MySpace in 2005 it ceased being cool and the platform slowly but surely plummeted into oblivion. Facebook recently announced that they are being advised by Goldman Sachs and taking on new investors, gearing up for an IPO and in doing this possibly losing that cool status they enjoyed in the early days.
Will Facebook follow MySpace's lead and slowly disappear? Unlikely, as they have so many users already (half a billion) that spend more time on the site than anywhere else on the internet. As long as Facebook can keep developing their service they will stay relevant. The new Facebook Credits are tipped to become the next PayPal or Western Union for instance.
Facebook ain't going anywhere and Mark Zuckerberg doesn't have to worry much. Just like Microsoft hasn't been cool since 1987, it still provides most of our operative systems and makes chunky profits every quarter. As long as Facebook keeps innovating they will ward off the threat of The Others.
Do you still use Facebook as much as you did? Please share your thoughts!